LITTLE GRASSY FISH HATCHERY
1258 Hatchery Lane
Makanda, IL 62958
Little Grassy Fish Hatchery is Illinois' warm-water hatchery. Located seven miles south of Carbondale, the hatchery utilizes water from Little Grassy Lake for production. The original facility began operation in 1959. Major expansion and renovation in 1979 allowed production to be increased to keep up with stocking demands.
Little Grassy hatches and rears black crappie, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill and channel catfish each year. Earthen ponds are used for the production of the crappie, bass, and sunfish. Fingerlings of these species are harvested depending on stocking needs.
The main event at Little Grassy is the catfish production. Adult brood fish are paired and placed into spawning cubicles located in concrete outdoor raceways. The fish are provided an appropriate nesting site (milk can). Fertilized eggs are collected from the cans and processed indoors. The eggs are separated, enumerated and hatched in the incubation room.
Newly hatched catfish fry are placed in indoor start troughs for approximately three weeks. During this time the yolk-sac fry develop fully and begin feeding on powdered food. The production process of the channel catfish provides a great viewing experience for visitors. ‘Prime time” for viewing the production process runs from early to mid-June. Yearling catfish in outdoor raceways are available for feeding by visitors from Memorial Day through July.
Little Grassy is open to the public seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during both production season and non-production season. Walk-in visitors as well as scheduled tour groups are welcome. Scheduled tours can be adjusted to suit time constraints of visitors as well as age group and knowledge base of visitors. For information or reservations, please call: Little Grassy Fish Hatchery 618-529-4100.