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Dale Hollow

National Fish Hatchery

The excellent water quality of Dale Hollow Lake is important to the operation of the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, which is located just below Dale Hollow Dam. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the hatchery on 40 acres of land leased from the Corps of Engineers.

The hatchery and aquarium are open to visitors every day from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and is a popular tourist venue. For more information contact Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery at (931) 243-2443, or visit

Dale Hollow NFH was established to mitigate for fishery resources which were lost due to the construction of federal water development projects in the Southeast. This is accomplished by stocking rainbow, brown, lake, and brook trout in waters impacted by federal dams.

Stocking trout in public waters supports a significant recreational fishery which generates a substantial amount of economic activity for local and regional economies. This facility is also involved in the conservation of imperiled, freshwater, non-game fishes and mussels. For a list, click here.

Built in 1965 and expanded in 1994, the Dale Hollow Fish Hatchery is the largest federal trout hatchery east of the Mississippi. It produces 1.5 million rainbow, brown and lake trout annually, an average production of around 300,000 pounds. The fish are distributed in Tennessee and also in Alabama and Georgia.


In addition to visiting the hatchery, there are many opportunities to be involved at the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery.

Direct volunteering:

  • Fish care-taking: cleaning raceways, moving fish, scrubbing tanks, fixing aquaculture equipment, feeding fish
  • Grounds upkeep: pulling weeds, support developing native flora, fence repair, cement patching, fiberglass projects
  • Outreach: providing visitor tours, helping with group events including education, kids games, community interaction, social media updates

Organizational support

  • Develop opportunities to increase community support, grow social media experiences, increase the number or size of hatchery events
  • Work with the larger goals of the USFWS to enhance cooperation with entities such as conservation and education efforts with students, teachers, schools and universities

Friend’s group

  • Joining and supporting the hatchery Friend’s group is the most impactful way to be a part of Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery’s success. Friend’s groups are a huge part of why national fish hatcheries continue to exist, providing tangible results in efforts to maintain or recover at-risk species, provide value to outdoor recreation that might otherwise be lost and focus science efforts into various biological advancement fields.
  • The first steps for anyone interested in joining the hatchery friend’s group is to get involved through volunteering. Any prior skillsets such as legal, admin, book-keeping, organization, education, aquaculture/agriculture, trade-skills, and any unique personality contributions are all highly sought after for the legacy of the Friends of Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery.