Lost Valley Fish Hatchery is one of five warm-water hatcheries in Missouri. Construction on the hatchery began in 1977 as a project of the Missouri Department of Conservation, funded largely by Sport Fish Restoration Act. Lost Valley contains 77 ponds to rear fish in – 61 one-acre ponds, 13 half-acre ponds, and 3 one-tenth-acre ponds. Water used to operate the hatchery is drawn from wells over 1,200 feet deep, and it is regulated by a computer system that rotates well usage to lessen detrimental effects on the water table.
The hatchery raises walleye, muskellunge, channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped and hybrid striped bass, bluegill and hybrid sunfish to stock Missouri’s waters, along with state-endangered mussels if they get a shipment of them. It restocks many waters with fish to make sure the ecosystems remain healthy. In the summer, the hatchery usually supplies urban ponds (mostly in St. Louis and Kansas City) with fish every other week so people can fish during this time. At the hatchery, there is a kid’s pond that provides children a place to easily fish, along with an aquarium inside the visitor’s center. It is a great place to learn more about the aquaculture of Missouri!
We visited the hatchery on the second day of our spring break trip. We received a tour from one of the workers, a woman named Lesly, who showed us around the visitor center then took us behind-the-scenes to show us the fish hatchlings, some of the facilities and a few demonstrations. Afterwards, we looked around the visitor center on our own and tried to identify fish in the big aquarium based on the characteristics of different species we learned on the tour.
Entry by Melanite Cohen and Annie Gocke
For more information about the Lost Valley Hatchery please visit their website.