Established in 1896, D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, formerly Spearfish National Fish Hatchery, is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country dedicated to fish culture and resource management.

The Hatchery is located within the town Spearfish at South Canyon Street and Spearfish Creek between the Spearfish City Park and City Campground. Click HERE for map.

the museum

The Von Bayer Museum of Fish Culture was created to preserve the vibrant history and rich heritage of the American fisheries workers. The US Fish and Wildlife Service collects and preserves the historic objects from hatcheries throughout the country making them accessible to researchers and the public.

The collection contains over 185,000 items and is the largest collection of fisheries artifacts in the country, some of which are on display in the museum. The museum is open daily during the summer season. The collection management facility is open only by appointment.

 

THe Booth House

The Booth House features two expansive porches with classical columns,  oval windows, a bay window, and a rear balcony. Generally unaltered from historic times, the interior is appointed with period furnishings and Booth Family memorabilia.

 

 

 

The railcar

Before the invention of refrigerated tanker trucks, fish hatcheries were faced with the problem of how to quickly move fish from hatcheries to lakes and rivers around the country.

D.C. Booth displays the only federal fisheries railcar exhibit in the country, showcasing a replica of Fish Car No. 3. Visitors to this unique and beautifully restored railcar will learn about the history of the Fish Car Era, a 66-year period that played a key role in fisheries propagation.

 

the yellowstone boat

U.S. Fisheries Boat #39, a wooden Great Lakes-style cabin cruiser, tells the story of early hatchery workers who went on expeditions to Yellowstone National Park to collect trout eggs.  In 1901, the Spearfish National Fish Hatchery began to operate an egg-gathering substation in Yellowstone National Park.

The Yellowstone Boat was restored and is now on display at the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery.

 

The grounds

Spanning 10 acres, the entire hatchery site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ponds, rock walls, water systems and buildings contribute to the site’s historic significance. Although many alterations have been made on the site over the years, each change tells a story about hatchery operations.

Two hiking trails outline the boundaries of the hatchery site and serve as firebreaks. The trails offer scenic overlooks of the grounds and take you to historic sites such as reservoirs and the mort pit.

The Pond Gift Shop offers fish food, books on nature and local history,  wildlife and nature crafts & toys, gifts, and hatchery souvenirs. Visit the Shop for information about area attractions and the history of the hatchery.

 

the fish

Visitors can get up close and personal with brown and rainbow trout by feeding them from above or watching them through the underwater viewing windows. Visitors can feed the fish 365 days a year, as the grounds are open from dawn to dusk.

Trout from the D.C. Fish Hatchery are stocked in regional Tribal Waters.

 

The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery was constructed to propagate, stock, and establish trout populations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.  After a very successful fish production history, the Hatchery ceased operations in the mid-80’s and reopened with a new mission and partnerships to help preserve the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s historic and cultural heritage. The Hatchery is named after its first Superintendent.

Admission to the Hatchery grounds is always free. Visitors are welcome to stroll the hatchery grounds from dawn to dusk any day of the week, 365 days a year. However, the Pond Gift Shop, Von Bayer Museum, Railcar, and Booth House are only open during the summer season from mid-May through the end of September. Tours through the historic buildings are available through September from 9am to 6pm, on a rolling as-come, as-needed basis. Stop by for great interpretive tours from our volunteers!

Please note: Because the Hatchery’s attractions operate with the help of local and traveling volunteers, hours may vary or be shortened without notice. 

DIRECTIONS:

From I-90 Interstate: Exit 12 travel West on Jackson Blvd, Turn left on Canyon St, Continue south six blocks.

From Spearfish Canyon: Hwy 14A – Turn left at stoplight on Colorado Blvd, Turn left on Hudson St, Turn left on Canyon St. -drive 6 blocks to City Park.

NOTE: Spearfish Canyon via Winterville Road to Canyon Street is closed to thru traffic during summer months, as noted on map.