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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's
Bozeman Fish Technology Center

History

The Bozeman Fish Technology Center, formerly Bozeman National Fish Hatchery, is located at the entrance to Bridger Canyon, about 4 miles northeast of Bozeman on Highway 86 in Gallatin County. On August 5, 1892, the Bozeman National Fish Hatchery, originally under the Bureau of Fisheries, was authorized by the Congress of the United States. Trout Jumping For FlyThe Appropriation Act of that date, 27 Stat. 361, authorized the expenditure of $10,000 for purchase of land, water rights, construction of buildings, and purchase of equipment for a fish cultural station in Montana. Thus, the fourth oldest fish hatchery in the National Fish Hatchery system came into being.

During 1892, Professor S.A. Forbes, Director of the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, made a survey of Montana concentrating on the western part of the state. After examining several proposed sites, the Davies Springs site at the entrance to Bridger Canyon was selected. An engineering survey was completed and 50.3 acres, including the Davies spring and certain water rights to Bridger Creek, were purchased from William I. Davies on May 20, 1893. In 1894 further surveys of the grounds were completed, design and specifications of the hatchery and other buildings were prepared and the first contract was awarded on December 24, 1894. Work did not begin until April 1895 due to weather conditions and was completed in 1896 at a total cost of $28,400. Dr. James A. Henshall, the first superintendent, reported for duty on January 11, 1897. During that winter the first production began when brook trout and steelhead eggs were received. Eighty acres of additional land were acquired in 1905. Beginning in 1897 and through the ensuing years, additional facilities were constructed. The hatchery was used to raise and stock trout and grayling in waters in Montana and surrounding states. The archives even show an entry where Colonel William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) requested trout and grayling for some waters on his ranch in Wyoming.

Changing Roles

In 1966, the Bozeman National Fish Hatchery was designated a Fish Cultural Development Center. A small research staff was employed and began investigations related to developing improved methods for culture of salmonid fishes. Investigations primarily addressed water treatment systems, water reuse, hatchery affluent, sedimentation facilities, carrying capacity and rearing methods, diet testing and broodstock research.

In 1983, the Center was given a new title, Bozeman Fish Technology Center. Since 1983, very little fish production for fisheries management has been assigned to the Center. Fish are produced as part of specific investigations, imperiled species recovery programs and research studies. In 1986, the Beulah Fish Technology Center in Wyoming was closed and its entire function and staff were transferred to Bozeman. This included a diet development and testing program for salmonids and coolwater species. This action doubled the staff and workload at the Center. The Investigational New Animal Drug Center was added in 1994 to coordinate national use and development of therapeutic drugs for fish. The Fish Health Lab from Ft. Morgan, Colorado, began operations in the Bozeman Advanced Technology Park shortly after. The Lab will focus on disease diagnosis and fish health services, to include assessing the impacts of parasites and pathogens on both captive and wild stocks.

Currently, work done at the Technology Center includes research in fish cultural techniques, fish feed development and testing, fish disease studies, broodstock diet testing, and technical assistance. Under technical assistance we assist people from any agency, and the private sector in topics such as fish culture, disease diagnosis, fishery management, and are involved in teaching classes on these topics. We have been involved with the restoration efforts of the greenback cutthroat trout, and the Arctic grayling from the Big Hole River, the last fluvial population in the continental United States.

Many things have changed since the early days, including the mission and title of the facility. It is no longer a production hatchery raising fish strictly for stocking. Visitors touring through the Fish Technology Center now see people working in many different areas such as diet testing, feed manufacturing technology, fish diseases, brood stock development and improvement of water quality. Biologists at the Technology Center provide assistance to hatchery and field biologists throughout the United States. The station has greatly increased in size and complexity since its beginning; it has grown with and has been a landmark for the City of Bozeman. ~

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304 N 18th Avenue • Bozeman MT 59715 • Phone: 406-587-9181
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