D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery

You would think if you have seen one fish hatchery, you have seen them all…. not so! This historic hatchery in Spearfish SD was established in 1896 and still produces 60,000 trout to stock waters in South Dakota and Wyoming. It also serves as a living fisheries museum for the public. We strolled over from the campground along the creek that supplies the races full of small fry at the hatchery. We walked the acres of beautiful grounds, toured each interesting building, viewed the exhibits, fed the fish and ducks, visited with the volunteers, purchased a gurgle pot at the gift shop and generally had an excellent time learning more about the history of this portion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services heritage.

Free to the public
Getting our steps in a pleasant way
Visitor Center and feeding pond
Original hatchery in the background, some of the races full of fingering trout in the foreground
The 1896 hatchery is now a fisheries museum full of interesting artifacts
View from above at an overlook
Growing pond
Release the trout bronze sculpture fountain
Fish Car used to transport fish by rail
Warren chatting with Jack who volunteers at the rail car
Insulated cabinet for ice to cool the trout waters
Bunk beds above and cane chairs on rails below on top of the fish transport boxes
Rail crew had to eat!
Fearnow Pail
Each section held 4 pails and thousands of fish per rail car
Interesting displays
Gentle handling
Superintendent Booth and his family lived in this house and oversaw the hatchery operation from 1905-1933
Sunlight and Hydrangeas
Another nice life-sized bronze
Brown, Rainbow and Cut Throat Trout. Plus ducky feet!
Tubing down Spearfish Creek right thru the hatchery grounds
Gurgle Pot

What’s the story behind the Gurgle Pot?

Several years ago, it’s creator Matt Ellison, discovered an interesting fish shaped pitcher that ‘gurgled’ while attending his brother’s wedding in Southern France. Every time he would pour water out of the pitcher into a glass, it would gurgle, bringing smiles to those sitting around the table.

After the wedding, he returned home to the states and began trying to recreate the unique fish shaped pitcher and the unique gurgling sound that he had encountered while in the South of France. ‘Ten years, two kids, 15 molds and one typhoon off the coast of China later…’ the Gurgle Pot was born!

Published by karenebarker

Free Range Human traveling North America by RV with her Beloved

4 thoughts on “D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery

    1. We never imagined it could be either! We have visited 3 so far and learned something new each time. The first one was in Minnesota…. It was just a old historic landmark not open to the public but I peeked in the windows and was fascinated with the process. Since then, we have visited a couple more.


  1. Indeed, very interesting. I love the gurgle pot. reminds me of the wine spout that whistles like a bird…funny. You can’t get by with that second glass of wine without everybody knowing! 🙂


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