Rathbun Fish Hatchery – Moravia, Iowa

rathburn.jpg    The Rathbun Fish Hatchery – Moravia, Iowa

This hatchery is located in Appanoose County about seven miles north of Centerville, Iowa. The hatchery is situated on 375 acres of land directly below the Rathbun Reservoir Dam. The facility complex includes a 5,000-squre foot hatchery/office building, 20 outside concrete rearing ponds, 40 indoor rearing tanks, pollution control ponds and three employee residences. Visitor-related facilities include an information center, an elevated observation walkway through the hatchery building and aquariums. Also located on the hatchery grounds is a mile-long nature trail.

The Rathbun Fish Hatchery is an intensive warm water fish hatchery. That is, the species of fish propagated here grow best in water temperatures between 50 and 90 °F. Channel catfish is the primary fish species raised at the hatchery; however, other species include walleye, saugeye, and largemouth bass and are used statewide. Brood stock channel catfish are maintained at this facility and annually provide more than 1 million fry for use across the state. Brood stock walleye are annually collected in April from Lake Rathbun from gill nets. These fish are taken back to the hatchery where they are spawned and are then returned to the lake. The facility has the ability to raise a number of species to large fingerlings for use in a number of fishery management and research applications.

Fish produced at this facility are stocked statewide in Iowa farm ponds, rivers and more than 250 lakes and reservoirs. Annually, more than 200,000 large fingerling catfish, 100,000 small fingerling catfish, 50 million walleye fry, 150,000 walleye fingerlings and 22,000 largemouth bass fingerlings are produced at Rathbun. In addition, more than 75,000 four- to six-inch catfish are provided for county conservation boards and cities each year for their caged-catfish rearing programs.

Hours: Open year-round Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Location: 15053 Hatchery Place, Moravia, Iowa

Phone: 641-647-2406


  1. Not that this will help your business but I’m from MN and am looking to buy approx 200 channel catfish fingerlings. I’m looking for a fishfarm in MN or northern Iowa. Can you help?

  2. Hello Cory,
    I have forwarded your inquiry off to the hatchery directly and requested that they respond to you. Hope you find what you are looking for with them.

    Pat Watson

  3. I am looking for about 200 catfish fingerlings for late spring. Can you email me with price and availability? Thank you.

  4. I have forwarded your request to the DNR for their response.

    Pat Watson, Editor

  5. Andrew Scherf says:

    Hi i am looking at purchashing 300 small fingerling catfish if you could send me a price or estimate thank you

  6. I have forwarded your inquiry on to the DNR and requested they contact you.

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