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Hatcheries & Weirs

A fish hatchery is a facility where fish eggs are hatched and the fry (baby fish) are raised, mostly to stock lakes, streams, and ponds.

A weir is an obstruction placed across a river designed to block the passage of fish. Weirs are typically used to catch fish in order to harvest their eggs. Eggs taken at the weirs are sent to state fish hatcheries where they are raised and stocked all over Michigan.

Additionally, there are several fish ladders in Michigan which allow fish the opportunity to migrate upstream over or through a barrier. Locations can be found in Berrien Springs, Buchanan and Niles.


Egg-take – the organized effort to create a new generation of fish. An egg-take occurs under controlled conditions ensuring that the maximum number of eggs become fertilized. In addition, the fertilized eggs are disinfected and transferred to a hatchery for rearing.

Broodstock – are the adult population that are reproductively mature. At weirs these are “wild broodstock” and “captive broodstock” remain at hatcheries, such as the trout species at Oden and Marquette State Fish Hatcheries.

We operate six fish hatcheries, five permanent egg-take stations and up to 40 rearing ponds. In addition to the permanent egg-take stations, we collect eggs and sperm from natural spawning runs of walleye, lake sturgeon and muskellunge.

Little Manistee Weir

Fall DNR Weir Fieldtrips

Schools are invited to visit the weir during the annual fish, or egg take operations to see firsthand how the DNR actively manages these world class waters. Registration for fall weir tours opens in September each year. 

Fish Stocking Truck

Fish transportation vehicles

Learn about the vehicles that transport millions of fish each year from our fish hatcheries and rearing ponds to water bodies throughout the state.

Learn more about fish transportation vehicles

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