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Fish Hatcheries
Fish Hatcheries

Your fishin' is our mission​

​Since 1881, Colorado Parks & Wildlife fish hatcheries have been dedicated to improving the fish populations of our beautiful state. Tod​ay, CPW operates 19 hatcheries that breed, hatch, rear and stock over 90 million fish per year. Many of the fish produced are ​to enhance angling opportunities, while o​​thers serve a critical role in native species recovery efforts. ​Colorado fish hatcheries support our angling pastime, which annually contributes 1.9 billion dollars​ to our state's economy!


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Mt. Shavano Hatchery in SalidaVisitors are ​welcome!

​Some hatcheries offer self-guided tours, while others may have tour guides available during​ certain times of the year. Call ahead to learn what is offered at the hatchery you will be visiting. To enhance your experience, some educational materials are available at all hatcheries.​



Tours for groups and schools must be arranged in as far in advance as possible. This will help ensure that a sufficient supply of educational materials is on hand and that your group has a coordinated, enjoyable experience.

​Hat​cheries are busy working environments. To make your visit as enjoyable and rewarding as possible, please observe these hatchery viewing guidelines​​​​.

Click on a hatchery icon to learn more about it. 

These hatcheries allow visitors and clicking the icon will show the opportunities offered, contact information, and even some photos!

Blue Fish CPW Cold Water Facility​​  Red Fish CPW Warm Water Facility Brown Fish USFWS Hatchery​​​​


​​​​Colorado hatcheries raise over 30 ​​different species of fish and the boreal toad. Here's just a few of those species to prime your knowledge before ma​king a visit:

​Cold water fish

Spawning a Rio Grande Cutthroat at the Pitkin HatcheryCutthroat trout- The only native trout to Colorado, cutthroats are stocked to aid in conservation efforts and to provide angling opportunities in high altitude lakes and streams. Learn more about cutthroa​t trout co​nservation​​​.

Rainbow trout- Native to the Pacific coast, these are a popular game fish in Colorado. CPW hatcheries stock over 2.5 million 10" rainbows (called ​"Catchables") int​​o public lakes and rivers each year.

Kokanee salmon- ​​Kokanee are the land-locked form of sockeye salmon that live in reservoirs throughout the higher elevations. Each fall, kokanee swim upriver to spawn, where CPW biologists collect millions of eggs to be hatched & raised in hatcheries. Those kokanee fingerlings are released back into the wild each spring to perpetuate their life cycle.

Warm water fish​​

Largemouth bass- First introduced to Colorado in1878, these fish are mainly stocked in Front Range waters. Some low elevation lakes on the western slope also receive fingerlings. More people fish for largemouth bass than any other species in the US.

Channel catfish- Native to eastern Colorado, channel catfish are but one of seven native sport fish in Colorado. About one million fingerlings are stocked into Colorado reservoirs annually.

Fish Hatchery Careers

​A car​eer in CPW's fish hatcheries can be rewarding​, important and fun. Interested? Check out the Fish Hatchery Technician page to learn more.