MORRILTON [Date] – The TOLM Group is proud to announce its partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to modernize the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery in Lonoke. The engineering and design services were provided by ETC Architects and Engineers. TOLM is excited to be a part of enhancing this facility’s ability to supply millions of fish for the state’s public lakes and streams. This $12.6 million project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
Since its establishment in 1928, the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery has been dedicated to the production of fish to replenish Arkansas’s lakes and streams. It stands as the oldest and most extensive among the four warm-water hatcheries owned by the AGFC, and it holds the distinction of being one of the oldest and largest state-owned warm-water pond hatcheries in the United States.
This will be the third and final phase of renovation work that has been ongoing at Joe Hogan since 2014. The staff there have been rebuilding ponds, repairing the aging infrastructure, and dividing ponds into smaller, more manageable units. A total of 77 ponds are now in use at Joe Hogan, all with independent drain lines, electrical service for aeration purposes and independent water fill lines.
This final phase of renovation at Joe Hogan is a two-part project that will include a new indoor production facility and a water reuse system for the hatchery ponds. The indoor production facility will increase production and efficiency for several species cultured there, like Florida Largemouth Bass and Channel Catfish. In addition, the new indoor facility will provide office space for the hatchery staff and full water reuse capabilities. The Joe Hogan Hatchery is solely dependent on groundwater as its water supply, and this project is aimed at reducing that dependency on groundwater. To further limit the use of groundwater on the hatchery’s pond portion, a water re-use system is being constructed that will capture water from ponds as they are drained and store that water in a reservoir that can be filtered and pumped to other ponds anywhere on the hatchery.
During the initial phase in the spring of 1929, only a limited number of ponds had reached a usable state. Largemouth bass and bluegill were procured from the White River’s wild population and introduced to the available ponds. This resulted in the inaugural harvest of fish within the same year. Following World War II and extending into the 1950s, the Commission continued the expansion of rearing ponds, culminating in an expanse of 56 ponds covering 214 acres of aquatic terrain. Initially recognized as the Lonoke Fish Hatchery, the facility was renamed in 1956 to honor Joe Hogan, Arkansas’s first fisheries supervisor, who served from 1928 to 1960.
The hatchery’s primary focus remains on warm-water species, including largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, and blue catfish. Annually, the hatchery produces a staggering three to four million fish, contributing significantly to the stocking of Arkansas’s public lakes and streams. The hatchery also supplies fingerling fish to AGFC’s other warm-water hatcheries.