To the Friends of the Upper Miss and all the volunteers who helped with Kids Ice Fishing Days

I would like to express my sincere thanks for your assistance in putting together a fantastic 2003 Kids Ice Fishing Day at the hatchery February 4th!  There was 529 attendees at the event, with 39 volunteers and staff assisting, giving us a total of 568 people on or around the ice!

Needless to say, it could not have happened with all our your participation and efforts.  Thank you so much for your continued help in reaching out to our community to spread the message that outdoor activities involving our fish and wildlife resources are of great value, multi-generational, and deserve to be passed on for future generations to enjoy and protect.  Thank you for your foresight to be the current generation of conservation stewards, and your help in growing the next one.

All the best, 

Doug Aloisi                           

Hatchery Manager

Genoa National Fish Hatchery

Genoa National Fish Hatchery is in need of volunteers to help with mussel cage prep and mussel cage repairs.

We could use support from about 10 people to prep the mussel cages on Wednesday, February 15 @ 9:00am until about 2pm. Lunch will be provided. 
We could use support from about 15 people to repair mussel cages on Thursday, February 23 @ 8:00am – 3pm. Lunch will be provided. 
Please call the Hatchery at 608-689-2605 and ask for Erica or email me at
Please let me know if you have any questions. Any help is greatly appreciated! If you could please RSVP to phone or email so I can have a number for food. 
Thank you so much for your support! 
Erica Rasmussen

Winter activities at Genoa!









We are very excited to be back on the ice for our Kids Ice Fishing Day event coming up on Saturday, February 4, 2023 from 8:30am – 12:00pm! We will start the day with a safety lesson and then kids will get the opportunity to ice fish for rainbow trout on Pond 11. A light lunch will also be provided. New this year, participants can try their hand at snowshoeing! Volunteers will be onsite to talk to folks about local winter recreational opportunities and we will have snowshoes for folks to try out. As always, safety comes first. This event is weather and ice condition dependent, so please follow us on Facebook for updates! The snowshoes are also available to visitors to use when the Interpretive Center is open. If you are interested in snowshoeing our trails, please check them out at the front desk. While out snowshoeing, be sure to keep an eye out for animal tracks and try to identify what animals are living in our riparian wetlands and floodplain forest! By: Erica Rasmussen

Coaster Brook Trout Arrive on Station

Eyed Coaster Brook Trout eggs in a strainer. Photo: USFWS.

The newest additions to Genoa National Fish Hatchery arrived on station on January 17th. About 70,000 fertilized Coaster Brook Trout eggs were sent from our sister hatchery at Iron River National Fish Hatchery from captive broodstock that were started in our quarantine building at Genoa in 2017 and 2018. After a quick disinfection bath, the eggs were placed in hatching jars to continue their development. We expect that hatching will begin within the next couple of weeks. From there, we will raise these fish until spring of 2024, hopefully in excess of 10 inches by that time. Most of these fish will be stocked for the Coaster Brook Trout restoration program in Grand Portage Band of Chippewa waters of Lake Superior and its nearby tributaries. Hopefully these fish will be part of the resurgence of this once plentiful, unique strain of Brook Trout in Lake Superior waters. The remainder will go to interior lakes on Red Lake Nation lands to become part of a tremendous recreational trout fishery. By: Nick Bloomfield

transferring eggs into an incubation jar. Photo: USFWS.

A new cohort of Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly arrives at Genoa NFH

At the end of last year’s growing season, juvenile Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly larvae that had been cultured at the Hatchery all season were packed up and transported to an overwintering facility at the University of South Dakota. At the same time, a new cohort of dragonflies -still in the egg stage- were delivered to the Hatchery from USD.

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly eggs overwintering at stable temperatures in an environmental chamber. The temperature is tracked by a data logger kept in a similar cup as the eggs, and a twice-daily quick check is made with the thermometer visible in the photo. Photo: USFWS.

Eggs are collected by research partners (USD and others) in the mid to late summer, when females are carrying fertilized eggs and are ovipositing- laying their eggs- in the marshy areas of spring-fed wetlands, wet meadows and fen habitats that this species prefers. The eggs are kept in individual clutches, allowed to harden, counted, and as the fall progresses into winter, chilled from warm summer temperatures to cold winter holding temperatures, approx. 3-4 °C. Over the winter, the groups of eggs are divided, packaged for transport, and delivered to the partner agencies -including Genoa NFH- that continue to over winter the eggs and then culture new juveniles in the spring. The eggs are transported in coolers with cool/cold packs to keep them from warming up and are quickly transferred to a stable temperature environmental chamber at the Hatchery. They’ll be kept at a stable 3-4 °C through the winter, then slowly warmed a few degrees per week in late March and April.
Genoa NFH has been working with Hine’s Emeralds since 2013, and in 2016 eggs were housed and the resulting new larvae reared on station each year. These previous cohorts of eggs have all been collected from females in a (relatively) large breeding population in Northern Wisconsin, but this new cohort consists of eggs collected from females in a smaller and more critically endangered population in Illinois along the Des Plaines River. The population augmentation or reintroduction of individuals that (hopefully!) will result from these hatchery reared animals is a key part of the recovery of Hine’s Emeralds, especially in the critical Des Plaines River population.
By: Beth Glidewell

A close up view of dragonfly eggs overwintering. Photo: USFWS.

Rainbow Trout Eggs Arrive from Ennis National Fish Hatchery

Genoa National Fish Hatchery’s trout production is now underway for the upcoming year. First to arrive on station were Lake Trout from Cayuga Lake (New York) followed by Coaster Brook Trout from Iron River National Fish Hatchery (Wisconsin), Landlocked Atlantic Salmon eggs from White River National Fish Hatchery (Vermont) and Rainbow Trout from Ennis National Fish Hatchery (Montana).

Genoa NFH receives approximately 100,000 Shasta strain rainbow trout eggs from Ennis National Fish Hatchery annually. Ennis National Fish Hatchery is the largest facility in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Broodstock Program and specializes in rearing fish to adult size, then taking the eggs from those fish, incubating them, and shipping them to production hatcheries.

Close up eyed Rainbow Trout eggs. Photo: USFWS.

These Rainbow Trout are being raised to provide a cost recoverable recreational fishery at the Fort McCoy Army Base in Sparta, Wisconsin, as well as to increase recreational fishing opportunities through various federal, tribal, and state partnerships. In addition, they are stocked for recreational fishing opportunities for fishing events for people with disabilities, elderly adult and kids fishing days on hatchery grounds, the Veterans Administration hospital in Tomah WI for their annual fishing event for disabled veterans, Chad Erickson Memorial Park for Hillview Nursing home residents and the public, Camp Decorah for Boy Scouts of America recreational fishing pond and other locations in Wisconsin and Iowa waters.  Fort McCoy is a United States Army installation and is used primarily as a military training center and a support site for military personnel and their families. The site has multiple ponds for fishing opportunities for soldiers and their families, and the general public with a base fishing permit. Genoa National Fish Hatchery raises rainbow trout for spring stocking to six Fort McCoy locations: Squaw Lake, Sandy Lake, Big Sandy Lake, Stillwell Lake, Swamp Pond, and Sparta Pond.
In 2022 Genoa NFH stocked 18,597 catchable size (11 inches) Rainbow Trout in Fort McCoy waters. The stocking of rainbow trout provides a great recreational fishing opportunity for military staff and their families as well as for Fort McCoy visitors. Past studies have shown that for 15,000 fish annually stocked on the base results to 66,580 angler hours of fishing.
By: Orey Eckes

Four incubation jars half filled with Rainbow Trout eggs. Photo: USFWS.

Kids Ice Fishing Day 2023


8:30 AM – 12 PM

Genoa National Fish Hatchery and Great River Road Interpretive Center

Join hatchery staff, the Midwest Fisheries Center, and Friends of the Upper Mississippi for our popular Kids Ice Fishing Day! This event is for children ages 5-12, accompanied by a parent or guardian. New this year, participants can try their hand at snowshoeing! Volunteers will be onsite to talk to folks about winter recreational opportunities and will have snowshoes for folks to try out.

Event schedule:
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Registration, children must be registered to fish
9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Ice Safety and Ice Fishing Tips
9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Open Fishing for Kids
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Snowshoe Demo

Fishing poles, bait, and tackle will be provided by the hatchery, Midwest Fisheries Center, and Friends of the Upper Mississippi. A warming tent will be onsite and a light lunch will be provided for participants, courtesy of Friends of the Upper Mississippi.

Due to limited space and biosecurity concerns, no outside ice fishing tents or bait will be permitted.
In order to provide ample time for kids to get equipment and catch their fish, children must be registered no later than 11:00 a.m.

This event is weather and ice condition dependent. We will announce the cancellation or postponement of the event here on the Facebook event page, broadcast it on 97.1 FM WCOW, and will post signs at the hatchery. This event will be held at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, S5631 State Highway 35, Genoa, WI, on the east side of the highway at Pond 11. Traveling 3 miles south of Genoa, WI, drive past the office sign on the right and take a left by the rearing buildings on the east side of Highway 35. Follow the signs and please park in the designated areas.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2023 AT 8:30 AM – 12 PM

Lake trout sample count


Today we completed our monthly sample count for Lake Trout. First, the Biologists scoop fish into a bucket. Next, they measure the total weight of fish and number of fish in the bucket. This allows the biologists to calculate an approximate weight per fish. This process is completed three times then averaged. The weight per fish calculation allows the Biologists to calculate feed rates and growth rates for the Lake Trout in each raceway. Photo: fish are being transfer from a net to a bucket that is sitting on a scale, USFWS worker holding a white bucket with fish over a raceway. Photo credit: USFWS.



As hustle and bustle from school groups visiting during the spring, summer and fall are winding down, it is a great time for reflection on how our education and outreach programs are going and how to make improvements for next year. We had a great year with over 30 different schools visiting the Genoa National Fish Hatchery. I was also able to attend 25 different community outreach programs set up by partners in the surrounding areas. This allowed me to share Genoa’s mission to recover threatened and endangered aquatic species, restore threatened fish populations, provide fishery resources support to National Wildlife Refuges, Native American tribes, and to provide sport fish to increase recreational opportunities on public lands to 6,870 people! With most of the COVID restrictions now lifted and the Highway 35 road construction completed, we are excited to see even more visitors next year as they travel down the Great River Road. I am still looking to reach more schools during the winter months and let them know that Hatchery’s never shut down and we are developing a winter program. We already have Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Lake Trout eggs being cared for. It is also a great time to enjoy a winter hike and or to work on your animal track identification in the snow. We are also looking forward to having the community join us for our annual Kids Ice Fishing Event that will take place in February. Please follow us on Facebook for more details and date of the event. By: Erica Rasmussen

Kids Ice Fishing Event at Genoa NFH.

Restoring an Ancient Legacy, Lake Sturgeon Begin to Thrive in Big Stone Lake

Big Stone Lake, located on the South Dakota – Minnesota border was once home to abundant numbers of lake sturgeon. Many factors including overharvest and poor water quality led to an extirpated population of lake sturgeon by 1946. Currently South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are partnering to restore historic populations.

Releasing a Lake Sturgeon in Big Stone Lake – September 2018. Photo Credit: MN DNR

In 2014 Genoa National Fish Hatchery joined the restoration efforts by supplying fingerling lake sturgeon at approximately 8 inches of length for stocking in the fall. The fish are offspring of adult lake sturgeon from the Wisconsin River, collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The restoration plan calls for the stocking of up to 4,000 fish per year for up to 20 years. This year 3,348 sturgeon were stocked into Big Stone Lake. To date Genoa has stocked 37,513 sturgeon into Big Stone Lake. Surveys by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the fall of 2016 revealed fish ranging from 16-24 inches. In total 12 lake sturgeon were caught in 6 nets. Surveys from 2017 revealed the biggest sturgeon caught of 25 inches and 3 pounds. In 2018 the biggest sturgeon caught was 32 inches long.
It’s safe to say these fish are growing and doing well. With continued cooperation between agencies the goal of restoring a historic population of lake sturgeon to Big Stone Lake is becoming a reality.
By: Orey Eckes

Our partners from Minnesota DNR passed along a video of a fish assessment they completed on Big Stone Lake, a lake in the Minnesota River watershed. We began at partnership with MNDNR and South Dakota Fish, Game and Parks in 2014 to restore lake sturgeon in the lake. Some exciting results so far! Video showing lake sturgeon being tagged, measured and released back into Big Stone Lake, boundary water of South Dakota and Minnesota. Video credit to MNDNR.