A short drive north of Elkader on the Gunder Road will lead you to a small ‘peace’ of paradise. Big Spring Trout Hatchery features a kids fishing pond, a public fishing pond, a trail for anglers to access the Turkey River, the largest coldwater spring in Iowa, and the scenic views of the limestone-dominated landscape.
Anglers of all ages are encouraged to come experience all that the trout hatchery has to offer. A partnership with the Manchester Hatchery allows Big Spring to have a rearing station to help grow trout from 2-3 inches long to a catchable size of 10-12 inches long. This 15 month long process allows an amazing educational experience for children.
From April through October, trout of catchable size are stocked in the Turkey River three times each week, including most Saturdays. Approximately 150,000 trout, both rainbow and brook species, are reared and stocked from this hatchery.
With the largest coldwater spring in Iowa, the landscape is second to none and has become one of the most well-known and studied sites in the nation for the groundwater in the limestone-dominated landscape. The Big Spring Basin showcases large sinkhole, losing streams, and caves. A peaceful walk down the newly renovated access trail lead anglers to the Turkey River, where public fishing is open 365 days per year! Primitive camping is also available along the river, within walking distance of the hatchery.
Grab your fishing pole, tackle box, and the whole family for a day of fun at Big Spring Trout Hatchery outside of Elkader. For more details on the hatchery, visit the Iowa DNR website.