Lake James Watershed State Fish Hatcheries
Table Rock Fish Hatchery: Located in the North Carolina foothills 10 miles north of Morganton, Table Rock State Fish Hatchery is a coolwater hatchery consisting of 17 ponds covering 9.25 acres of water, a flowing water flume line for holding trout, and indoor hatching and rearing facilities. In winter months, water temperatures at Table Rock are not as cold as water temperatures at our mountain trout hatcheries – thus the distinction between coolwater and coldwater hatcheries. The hatchery’s water supply from Irish Creek provides suitable water quality for raising a wide variety of fish species – from channel catfish to trout. Table Rock is used primarily for raising fingerling smallmouth bass, walleye and muskellunge to be stocked into public lakes and rivers of western North Carolina.
Marion State Fish Hatchery: Located north of the town of Marion and 1.5 miles east of US 221, the Marion State Fish Hatchery is a coldwater trout hatchery consisting of four earthen ponds, eight concrete raceways, a hatchery building with indoor rearing tanks, and a spring-fed, water-supply pond. Because Marion Hatchery is located close to the spring sources of its water supply, water temperatures at Marion Hatchery are cooler in summer and warmer in winter than at other state trout hatcheries. These moderate water temperatures allow rapid hatching of trout eggs and provide a good environment for growing trout “fingerlings” year-round. The hatchery’s primary function is hatching trout eggs and rearing newly hatched trout to fingerling size for the state’s hatchery-supported trout waters program. Secondary functions include raising forage fish and broodstock muskellunge to support “muskie” production operations at Table Rock Fish Hatchery.
Armstrong State Fish Hatchery: Located 10 miles north of the town of Marion and 2.5 miles off NC 226A, the Armstrong State Fish Hatchery is a coldwater trout hatchery consisting of two sections of outdoor raceways and indoor egg- and fingerling-rearing facilities. The clear, cold water of the Armstrong Creek watershed provides a good environment for raising trout. Armstrong Hatchery is responsible for stocking catchable-size trout in the public trout waters of 11 counties in the northern section of North Carolina’s mountain region.
The following species are stocked in Lake James and its tributaries: