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About Us

The Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a nonprofit citizens group chartered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support and promote the hatchery.  As a citizens group, the Friends group is able to promote the Norfork National Fish Hatchery in a manner that the hatchery, as an agency of the federal government, cannot do for itself.  

 

The Norfork National Fish Hatchery was established in 1955 and is a cold water hatchery primarily for the production of trout to restock the tailwaters below Norfork, Bull Shoals and other dams. The hatchery is responsible for raising three kinds of trout: rainbow, brown and cutthroat. In addition, Norfork National Fish Hatchery also provides trout to reservoirs and in cooperation with state game and fish agencies, distributes fish throughout Arkansas and other nearby states. The Hatchery's geographic area covers eastern Oklahoma and the White River Basin in Northern Arkansas. 

 

The Norfork Fish Hatchery is the largest hatchery in the National Fish Hatchery System, and provides the most economic impact of any National Fish Hatchery in the country.  The hatchery is the economic driver of Baxter and Marion Counties for fishing, lodging and retail sales. In 2012, the hatchery provided $91.1 million dollars of economic output, and created 994 jobs in the state. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is also the most visited tourist attraction in Baxter County with nearly 250,000 visitors annually.

 

The Norfork National Fish Hatchery produces 500,000 lbs of Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat Trout annually from its 96 raceways.  This number represents over 2.5 million fish being released recreationally per year in Arkansas and Oklahoma, with 92% of Norfork Hatchery fish being released back into Arkansas waters.      

 

Over 7,000 annual visitors fish Dry Run Creek each year.  This one of a kind stream is filled with trout, including some monsters that get caught each day.   For kids under the age of 16 and mobility impaired individuals, it would be tough to find a better place to come wet a line and have a great chance at catching a true wall hanger (of course we ask that you take a picture and release the fish to be caught again as this is a catch and release area)!  Bring your camera and the kids and use either the handicap accessible platforms built to fish specific holes or try your hand at getting out into the water and wade for the day.   

 

The Norfork National Fish Hatchery hosted 15 area schools last year, nearly 1,000 kids, who visited the hatchery for fishing, fly tying and fish biology classes.  During the summer months, the Friends of the Norfork Hatchery puts on many events tailored around children and trout fishing including Trout Camps, Fishing Derbies, Hatchery Outdoor Adventures and Fly Tying Classes.  

 

If you feel that the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is important to the economic and recreational well being of fishing, the State of Arkansas, and Baxter and Marion Counties, we would like to envite you to;

 

Become Our Friend Here!

 

See Upcoming Hatchery Events!

 

Learn More Facts About The Norfork National Fish Hatchery Here!

 

Click here to see the 2013 Annual Kids Fishing Derby Video

 

Click here to see the 2013 Kids Hatchery Outdoor Adventure Video



Board Members

Leon Alexander ~ Past President

Upon retiring as industrial sales engineer, Leon Alexander moved to Norfork, AR in April 2005 from the Memphis, TN Area. Here, he played a pivotal role in founding the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery group and was elected Vice President upon its establishment. In 2011, he was elected President and continues to serve in this capacity. Leon has also served on several other councils and board of directors, including Treasurer of the Southern Council of the Federation of Flyfishers from 2006 – 2009, Board Member of Friends of the Norfork and White Rivers from 2006 – 2009, Chairman of Baxter County’s Dissolved Oxygen & Environmental Committees, and former Secretary of Mid-South Flyfishers, where he is still a life-member.  Since his retirement, Leon has received multiple awards for his commitment to aquatic resource conservation. Some of his awards include being the recipient of the Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers “2007 Conservationist of the Year” award, the Mid-South Fly Fishers “Lifetime Achievement Award”, the Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers “2008 Man of the Year” award, and the USFWS Southeast Regional 4 Director’s “Volunteer of the Year” award.


David Lemoine ~ President, through 2017

David first visited the Twin Lakes area in 1974, fell in love with it and soon thereafter called it home.

Currently David is a journeyman toolmaker working for over 39 years at Micro Plastics in Flippin, Arkansas.

David has always been very involved in serving the community.  Some of his contributions are as follows:

  • Co-founder for the local chapter of the NWTF (Ozark Ridge Runners)
  • Twin Lakes Gun Club and NRA member for 42 years.
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation member
  • Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers member
  • Served on Baxter County Quorum Court from 2003 to 2013
  • Helped establish Fellowship Church of Mountain Home
  • Serves as a Gideon
  • Current director, and your new President, of the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery

Having traveled 42 states in this great nation, hunting and fishing some of the best areas throughout, David comments,"When you consider all that the Twin Lakes area offers the sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, you immediately realize how very special the Twin Lakes area is.  Our great location (Midwest one day's drive), long fair weather cycles, and plenty of free public access makes the quality experience of a White and North Fork river fishing trip hard to beat."

This highlights the fact that the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, and protecting our rivers, are key components not only for our economic prosperity, but also vital to perpetuating the Ozarks lifestyle.

Protecting, promoting, and doing all we can for the hatchery is our focus here at Friends of the Norfork Fish Hatchery.  I'm pleased to serve you.


Pat Smith ~ Vice President through 2017

information coming soon


Steve Loughridge ~ Treasurer, through 2017

Steve started out fishing with his dad in southeast Idaho on the South Fork of the Snake River, in Montana on the Gallatin and Madison Rivers, and in Yellowstone Park on several rivers.  Steve’s love of fishing continued in Washington state where he received a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at UW.  His career took him to Colorado, California and Pennsylvania as a Process Engineer, Plant Manager, and Operations Manager in the chemical manufacturing industry. Always looking for a river to fish, he enjoyed Colorado’s Eagle River during his free time from managing a plant in Littleton.

Steve and his wife Sandra vacationed here in 2002 and fell in love with the White River, vowing to come back for retirement. They returned in 2007, built a house over the beautiful White River, and spend as much time on the river as possible.  However, other activities vie for Steve’s time:  church, his daughter and three grandsons, and gardening plus other “chores” in the house and on the property.

A few years ago, he helped out with Trout Unlimited, tagging trout at the fish hatchery.  When the opportunity came up to support the hatchery by being on the board of FNNFH, he decided it was time to get more involved.  Steve firmly believes that we must do everything we can to keep the hatchery open, upgrade the visitor center at the hatchery, and get kids and their parents involved with fishing the beautiful White and Norfork Rivers.


Julie Raines ~ Secretary, through 2017

Julie grew up on a small lake in Missouri, where she inherited a love of fishing and nature from her Dad.

She and her husband, Steve, have operated His Place Resort on the White River in Cotter since 2002. Julie has a 2 yr. degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, and was the first female Electrical Maintenance Mechanic for Stouffer Foods, where she eventually met her husband, Steve.

Prior to moving to Arkansas, Julie was a software implementation consultant of ERP systems for small to mid-size manufacturing firms out of Austin, TX; working both for other companies and running her own firm, JLR Consulting. 

In addition to the Friends, she is serving Ozark Mountain Region, one of our state funded Regional Tourism Associations, on the Board of Directors and on the internet committee.

As is the case with many, September 11, 2001 was the catalyst that made her realize that a major life change was in order.  She shut down her business, found the resort, and moved with Steve to Arkansas by early 2002...  and hasn't looked back since!


Jay Chafin ~ Director, through 2016

Jay, a Northeast Arkansas native, as well as a local State Farm agent, enjoys the great outdoors throughout the many states he has lived. Whether it’s the Wetlands of Louisiana, or the majestic mountains of Colorado, one thing Jay and his family are passionate about is the conservation of our natural resources! He is married to his beautiful wife, Christine, and has two kids ages 5 and 9. Jay feels honored to be serving on the board, and looks forward to educating our community on  the resources and economic impact the Hatchery provides. He will work hard to ensure the Friends of the Norfork National Hatchery continues to thrive offering fishermen of all ages one of the best fishing experiences in America, right here in our backyard! 


Mike Jirka ~ Director, through 2017

Mike graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1969 with a BS degree in Medical Technology and worked 41 years in that field.  Mike was also of draft-able age in 1971 so he joined the National Guard and stayed in the Army and Navy Reserve program for 24 years as a medic / corpsman with a specialty in the clinical lab.  His last 10 years was spent working in a University Hospital where we performed forensic lab work for the county coroner.  Mike and his wife retired in Mountain Home to work on their bucket lists before it is too late.  Mike is still a lab rat he says and as a main hatchery volunteer, he takes weekly dissolved oxygen measurements at the Hatchery measuring the efficiency of the new oxygen aerators that your generous contributions have made possible for our hatchery's raceways.


Dr. Chuck Orvis ~ Director, through 2017

Grew up in Vermont and has lived in California, Minnesota, and Memphis, TN before retiring to the White River making Cotter, AR headquarters in 2005.  Charles was educated at Bristol, Vermont HS – 1953; Cal-State Northridge, BS Economics (cum laude), 1967; University of Minnesota, Ph. D. Economics, 1976 and was Emeritus Professor of Economics, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, where he taught from 1973 to 2001.  He was enlisted in Vermont Army National Guard in 1954, graduated from Vermont Military Academy in 1959, retired from USAR in 1991 with rank of 0-6 Colonel.  Currently he lives on the White River in rural Cotter with wife, Jane Darr and dog Griz. Chair of Cotter-Gassville Rural Fire Commission, active in NAFF fly fishing club and enjoy fishing, hunting and duplicate bridge.   Charles spends countless hours volunteering his time and mind to activities revolved around trout!  


George Peters ~ Director, through 2016

George is an avid fly fisherman and natural historian for the sport.  He and his wife Sharon moved to the area to be closer to the beautiful ozarks and great fishing.  They live right on the White River's doorsteps in Cotter, AR and own and operate Roundhouse Shoals Guide Service and The Rainbow Lodge.  George is passionate about the conservation of our waterways and protecting our resources for future generations.   He is the legal Director for the Friends group and is a very valuable asset to help secure the future of the Norfork Hatchery.  


Scott Sillence ~ Director, through 2018

United States Air Force, Law Enforcement, Corporate Internal Security, Major Organized Crime Investigator, District Loss Prevention Manager and Director of Risk Management for a major retail company in Florida, Owner of Gene’s Trout Fishing Resort and President/CEO of North Fork River Resorts, Inc., Salesville City Councilman/Alderman, President of White and North Fork Rivers Outfitters Association, Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Mountain Home and acting Programs Chairman, and Host Parent to foreign exchange students for the past 10 years.

Scott is a Master Scuba Diver and Underwater photographer with over 764 recreational dives recorded. Scott is single, Protestant, and enjoys helping others succeed in life.


Frank Wallis ~ Director, through 2018

Frank Wallis grew up just a stone's throw from the White River at Batesville and spent most of his recreational hours fishing, often alone, the river and tributary, Poke Bayou.

About a year ago Frank completed a career of 30 years in print journalism working for papers in Mountain Home, Little Rock and Batesville.

The last 15 years of that work has been weighted in coverage of threats to the hatchery and the area's water resources.

Frank's formal education was in Batesville Public Schools and the Sunset International School of Missions in Lubbock, Texas.

Frank Wallis grew up just a stone's throw from the White River at Batesville and spent most of his recreational hours fishing, often alone, the river and tributary, Poke Bayou.
About a year ago Frank completed a career of 30 years in print journalism working for papers in Mountain Home, Little Rock and Batesville.
The last 15 years of that work has been weighted in coverage of threats to the hatchery and the area's water resources.
Frank's formal education was in Batesville Public Schools and the Sunset International School of Missions in Lubbock, Texas.


Sheila Wingard ~ Director, through 2018

I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  My dad was in the Air Force so I moved quite a lot growing up.  I actually moved to Mountain Home, Arkansas in 1980, the same year that I graduated from high school.  
I am married to Jim Wingard and together we own Wingard Photography.  Wingard Photography has been in business since 1930.  Jim’s grandfather started the business, Jim’s father owned it and then Jim bought his father out.  We love the business and it gives us the chance to meet so many people in three different states.  (Oklahoma, Missouri, and of course Arkansas)  Currently I am in sales and get to travel.
I have two children who have blessed my life.   Ashley is married to Michael Berkshire and they have Drew.  They live in Little Rock where Ashley is a nurse at the Urology Clinic and Michael works for RIC.  Drew attends Pulaski Academy.  Jason is married to Jessica and reside here in Mountain Home and they have Carson.  Jason works here locally and Jessica works at Big Creek.  Carson attends Mountain Home Kindergarten.  I am blessed that my family is so supportive of me and because of them; I feel I am a better person.  They define who I am.
I have a passion for my community and the people who live here.  I served two years on the Baxter County Quorum Court.
I have been in Rotary for about 8 years, served on the board and am a past President.
I serve on the Salvation Army board and just recently took over as Public Relations chair.  I have been on the board for about 3 years.
I have been on the planning committee for the “Splash into Spring” CARTI event for the last three years, serving two years as co-chair.  All the money that we raised for this event stays in the Mountain Home area.
Most recently I have joined the FNNFH board and am looking forward to helping in any way that I can!
Again, I am blessed beyond because of the support that I receive from my family and friends.
When we aren’t busy, Jim and I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  I love to cook, garden, and sometimes fish (only if they are biting).


Edna Fusco ~ Director, through 2018

Edna Fusco joined the FNNFH Board of Directors in January 2016.  She and her husband, Frank, and two sons, Evan and Brent, aged 8 and 10, moved to Baxter County in 1976.  In 1986, their daughter, Danielle, was born in Mountain Home.  All three children attended and graduated from Mountain Home schools and went on to receive college degrees.  The Fusco's also are proud grandparents of 2 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.

Edna was born and raised in Lisle, Illinois, and lived at the Morton Arboretum.  She graduated from Lisle High School and attended Drake University College of Pharmacy in Des Moines, Iowa, and the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.  She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.  Now retired, Edna has worked at area retail and hospital pharmacies for 47 years.

Believing that  “Variety is the Spice of Life”, Edna has a wide variety of hobbies and interests:

  • Bell Collecting:  Member of the American Bell Association, and Heart of America Chimers. She has over 400 bells in her collection.
  • Black Powder Shooting:  Has participated in competitive shooting events across the country and has won National shooting awards from the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association.  Her greatest accomplishment to date was shooting 2 deer on the same day with her black powder rifle, each with only one shot!
  • Dance and Musical Theater:  With more than 25 years of dance training, Edna has also been both a dance instructor and a performer in many Community Theater musicals Including Pajama Game, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, and Hello Dolly.  Edna is currently a Patron of the Arts at ASUMH in Mountain Home.

Being actively involved in the area where she lives, and striving to make it a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to live are important to Edna.  In that respect, she is a Justice of the Peace in Baxter County, a member of Potpourri Home Economics Club, a member of St Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church, Charter Member and Past President of The Twin Lakes Republican Women, and a member of the Baxter County Republican Committee.

Edna especially enjoys being outside and enjoying the natural beauty of the Twin Lakes Area, and looks forward to working with the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.

Edna Fusco joined the FNNFH Board of Directors in January 2016.  She and her husband, Frank, and two sons, Evan and Brent, aged 8 and 10, moved to Baxter County in 1976.  In 1986, their daughter, Danielle, was born in Mountain Home.  All three children attended and graduated from Mountain Home schools and went on to receive college degrees.  The Fusco's also are proud grandparents of 2 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.

Edna was born and raised in Lisle, Illinois, and lived at the Morton Arboretum.  She graduated from Lisle High School and attended Drake University College of Pharmacy in Des Moines, Iowa, and the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.  She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.  Now retired, Edna has worked at area retail and hospital pharmacies for 47 years.

Believing that  “Variety is the Spice of Life”, Edna has a wide variety of hobbies and
interests:

    Bell Collecting:  Member of the American Bell Association, and Heart of America Chimers. She has over 400 bells in her collection.
    Black Powder Shooting:  Has participated in competitive shooting events across the country and has won National shooting awards from the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association.  Her greatest accomplishment to date was shooting 2 deer on the same day with her black powder rifle, each with only one shot!
    Dance and Musical Theater:  With more than 25 years of dance training, Edna has also been both a dance instructor and a performer in many Community Theater musicals Including Pajama Game, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, and Hello Dolly.  Edna is currently a Patron of the Arts at ASUMH in Mountain Home.

Being actively involved in the area where she lives, and striving to make it a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to live are important to Edna.  In that respect, she is a Justice of the Peace in Baxter County, a member of Potpourri Home Economics Club, a member of St Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church, Charter Member and Past President of The Twin Lakes Republican Women, and a member of the Baxter County Republican Committee.

Edna especially enjoys being outside and enjoying the natural beauty of the Twin Lakes Area, and looks forward to working with the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.