Fish education at the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery!- Photo by Rose Hammitt

Fish education at the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery!- Photo by Rose Hammitt

Brenda Garver is awesome. Brenda works for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and she provides tours to visitors who like my friend Rose and I came to learn all about the fish raised at the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery.

Located in the midst of the Shawnee Forest, the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery, the warm-water hatchery along the Little Grassy Lake raises Black Crappie, Large Mouth Bass, Blue Gill, Redear Sunfish and Brenda said, “produce all the Channel Catfish for the State of Illinois. That is our claim to fame.”

Brenda took the time to walk us through the breeding of the Channel Catfish and allowed us to feed the adult catfish that would soon be shipped out to Lakes all over the state of Illinois.

This is a place I would have loved to take my children to when they were little. I might just have to steal the grandkids for a long weekend come down, stay in a cabin and play in the Shawnee Forest and visit the Little Grassy Fish Hatchery. Brenda said she has families that return every year and now some of the visitors she took through as young adults are bringing their own kids to learn about this educational stop.

The hatchery is located seven miles south of Carbondale, Illinois and originally the operation began in 1959 with expansion and renovation in 1979. The hatchery is open to the public seven days a week. Brenda said they offer tours between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm during both production season and non-production season. . Located at 1258 Hatchery Lane, Makanda, IL 62958, call 618 529-4100 or log onto for details.

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