US Fish & Wildlife Service



Date of this Version



Published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1-2, (2001)


Hotchkiss NFH was established in 1967 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project Act. Located on 59 acres of forest surroundings on the North Fork of the Gunnison River, the hatchery's cold, clean water supply comes from the adjacent Tommy Dowell Spring.

Tommy Dowell Spring was created in the 1930's by an earthquake near Salt Lake City, whose tremors also affected the Hotchkiss area. The spring has a constant water temperature of 56 °F and flows from 2,200 to 5,000 gallons per minute, providing the ideal conditions for trout production.

Currently, the hatchery is rearing rainbow trout for stocking in Colorado and New Mexico reservoirs and Federal water developments.

To meet the trout production demands, Hotchkiss NFH facilities include 24 nursery tanks, 32 concrete raceways, and 6 earthen ponds.

In fiscal year 2000, Hotchkiss NFH produced and distributed over 2 million trout and stocked over 80 different water areak in Colorado and New Mexico. Over 200,000 angler days of recreational fishing in Colorado and New Mexico valued at over $10 million are a result of the stocking efforts!