|The Rathbun Hatchery is located in Appanoose County about seven miles north of Centerville on road J5T. Although the Rathbun Hatchery facility is relatively new, it is not a new project. Planning officially began in December 1970 with construction beginning in March 1974. The facility was dedicated on June 11, 1977. The project cost nearly $6 million with funds coming from three sources. The Iowa Legislature appropriated $2.3 million from Iowa's general fund. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided $700,000, and the sale of hunting and fishing licenses financed approximately $3 million. Annual operating funds are provided entirely by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. The original design included 40 indoor raceways and 20 semi-circular outdoor tanks. Ten one acre ponds were completed in 2000.
Rathbun Fish Hatchery Duties
The Rathbun Fish Hatchery is an intensive warm water fish hatchery. That is, the species of fish propagated here grow best in water temperatures between 50 and 90 F°. Channel catfish and walleye are the primary fish species raised at the hatchery. Muskellunge are over wintered and other species may be raised based on stocking requests throughout the state. Brood stock walleye are annually collected in April from Rathbun Lake using gill nets. These fish are taken back to the hatchery where they are spawned before being returned to the lake. Fish produced at this facility are stocked statewide in Iowa farm ponds, rivers and more than 250 lakes and reservoirs. Annually, more than 200,000 large fingerling catfish, 100,000 small fingerling catfish, 50 million walleye fry, 225,000 two inch walleye fingerlings and 175,000 eight inch walleye fingerlings are produced at Rathbun. In addition, more than 75,000 four- to six-inch catfish are provided for county conservation boards and cities each year for their caged-catfish rearing programs.
Tours: Open year-round Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Large groups must call ahead to make an appointment. Small groups are self-guided.
Secretary - Elaine Spencer, Hatchery Technician - Bryan Daniels, Hatchery Biologist - Chris Clouse,
Hatchery Technician - Dan Rosauer, Facilities Maintenance Coordinator - Mark Zavacki,
Hatchery Biologist - Dave Walljasper, Hatchery Technician - Dean Roush, Hatchery Technician - Paula Surber