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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


Scott Sillence ~ Vice President, through 2021

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.

Michael Jirka ~ Treasurer through 2022

Joe Salisbury ~ Secretary

Pat Smith ~ Board Member through 2021

Actively involved in Fly Fishing since the 80's, our Pat is a founding member of Damsel Fly Fishers and multi-time Woman of the Year honoree by the Federation of Fly Fishers-Southern Council (FFF-SOC), and now works full time for them.

She has also received the Award of Excellence and President's Award from the FFF-SOC.  In addition, you already have some idea of everything she currently does for the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, Sowbug Roundup Co-Chair for Fly Tying. 

David Lemoine ~ Past President

Leon Alexander ~ Past 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.