Big Springs Trout Hatchery

Big Springs Trout Hatchery
Big Springs Trout Hatchery is the largest coldwater production facility in Montana, located 7 miles southeast of Lewistown, adjacent to Big Springs City Park. Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm.
  1. Big Springs Trout Hatchery began in 1922 with help from the City of Lewistown and the local Rod & Gun Club. During the 1930s, the federal government created "New Deal" programs to provide employment. Several of these programs, including the Works Progress Administration built rock-walled ponds and bridges, as well as planted willow trees for the hatchery and spring area. The original hatchery is now known as the Upper Unit. Additions have been made throughout the years, including inside and outside raceways, houses and garages. In 1959 an additional hatchery site called the Lower Unit was developed ½ mile up the road, which includes 30 outside raceways. The Lower Unit originally received water directly from Big Springs Creek, which caused water quality problems when the water became muddy due to rain and floods. In the early 1970s a canal and pipe system was constructed, which allowed the Lower Unit to get water directly from Big Springs, eliminating the water quality problem. In the 1990s with the discovery of whirling disease in Montana, the hatchery improved and enclosed its water supplies from Big Springs to prevent contamination. Today Big Springs Trout Hatchery is the largest coldwater production facility in the state. The hatchery is capable of producing 160,000 pounds of fish annually. These fish are planted in about 100 different waters throughout Montana. The hatchery raises five different strains of Rainbow Trout as well as Brown Trout, Kokanee Salmon and Chinook Salmon. Most of the hatchery's eggs are supplied from other hatcheries throughout Montana and Wyoming, however one strain of Rainbow Trout are spawned from wild fish at Holter Reservoir in the spring. The Upper Unit has an egg incubation room and indoor raceways where fish are raised to about 2". Fish are then moved into outside raceways at the Upper or Lower Unit for continued growth. Big Springs Trout Hatchery stocks fish ranging from 2-12" into Montana waters.
  1. Management Restriction Employees only on outside raceways, limited indoor access.
  2. Pet Restriction No animals on raceways or in buildings.
  3. Weapons Discharge Prohibited Discharge of weapons prohibited year round.
Region 4
Latitude/Longitude: 47.00214 -109.34347
Size: 23.8 acres
Elevation: 4,181 ft
Open: Jan 1 to Dec 31
Big Springs Trout Hatchery is located seven miles southeast of Lewistown at the source of Big Springs. From Lewistown, go south on 1st Avenue South, which turns into Upper Spring Creek Road (County Road 238) as it leaves town. Drive 5 miles, and then take a right onto Fish Hatchery Road (County Road 466). Drive 2 miles and you will see the signs for the upper and lower units of the hatchery.

 Location Map

No Site Fees.

Garbage Bins
Grill (Ring)
Information Kiosk/Map
Picnic Table
Toilet (Vault)
Wildlife Viewing
  1. Mailing Address:
  2. 2035 Fish Hatchery Road
  4. 59457
  5. Phone:(406)538-5588