Niagara Springs Fish Hatchery
Niagara Springs Hatchery is owned and financed by the Idaho Power Company (IPC), and operated and staffed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). It is located in the Snake River Canyon ten miles south of Wendell, Idaho. Constructed in 1966, Niagara Springs is one of four hatcheries that IPC owns and IDFG staffs and operates to fulfill IPC's mitigation requirement under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the operation of Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon dams (FERC Project #1971). The mitigation goal of Niagara Springs Hatchery is to rear 400,000 pounds of steelhead, Oncorhynchus mykiss, smolts annually. Originally, these smolts were used to relocate a portion of the Snake River steelhead run into the Salmon River. Currently, 200,000 pounds are used to enhance the steelhead run below Hells Canyon Dam in the Snake River, and 200,000 pounds are stocked into the Salmon River drainage.

In addition to Niagara Springs Hatchery, Niagara Springs supplies water to Rim View Trout Company, IDFG Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area, and Pugmire State Park. Niagara Springs flow volume has been declining yearly, as have most springs along this part of the Snake River. Also, there is a noticeable decline in water volume that coincides with the start of irrigation season in the spring of the year. Niagara Springs total flow is approximately 220 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is divided into water rights by the four users. Niagara Springs Hatchery has a water right of 132 cfs. Water temperature is a constant 59º degrees Fahrenheit and flows by gravity to the incubators, nursery vats, fire hydrants, raceways, and irrigation system.

The Niagara Springs Hatchery, constructed in 1966, is located in the Hagerman Valley, 10 miles south of Wendell, Idaho in the Snake River Canyon. Click here to look at a road map of the area.

The goal of the hatchery is to rear 400,000 pounds of steelhead trout each year. Currently, 200,000 pounds are used to enhance the steelhead run below Hells Canyon Dam in the Snake River, and 200,000 pounds are stocked into the Salmon River drainage to provide a quality sports fishery in these waters.

2,000 adults, half male and half female, are collected from these drainages from the generation returning to spawn. These adults are shipped to the Oxbow and Pahsimeroi Hatcheries (1,000 each) where eggs are collected, fertilized and incubated through the "eyed egg" stage. Eggs are then shipped to the Niagara Springs Hatchery where the rearing process continues.


CLICK on the aerial photograph of Niagara Springs hatchery to take a virtual tour of the facility:
1. Water Supply
2. Indoor Nursery
3. Outdoor Raceways
4. Feeding System
5. Settling Ponds

Receive steelhead eggs and fry May to mid July
Incubate steelhead eggs May to mid July
Early rearing in vats mid May to mid-July
Final rearing in raceways mid May to April (11mos.)
Release steelhead smolts late March to early May

Written and compiled by Jacqueline Harvey 1999.
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