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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 2,000 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 2024 Annual Kids Fishing Derby Video


Click here to see the 2023 Kids Hatchery Outdoor Adventure Video

Board Members

Joe Salisbury ~ President

In 1967 Joe enlisted in the US Navy as a professional Musician. He traveled throughout Europe, Great Britian and Southeast Asia entertaining the troops.  Joe spent 30+ years as a school behavioral Specialist for Youth with behaioral / conduct disorders and a school counselor. He ended his career as the Director of Guidance at a large high in Terre Haute Indiana. He and his wife, Lerene, retired to Salesville AR in 2005. Early on he was a member of the founding group for our local Trout Unlimited chapter. He has  served the boards Friends of the Norfork and White River, North Arkansas Fly Fishers and Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. He enjoys volunteering at our Visitor Center and Gift Shop. Joe and Lerene are the chairpersons for the Hatchery Outdoors Adventure.

Scott Sillence ~ Vice President, through 2025

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

Lerene Salisbury/Recording Secretary

Lerene is a retired educator, having taught middle school music in the state of Indiana for over 30 years.  Her performance groups were highly regarded in state-sponsored competitions as well as national programs like the National Anthem Project.  Lerene was a prominent adjudicator throughout the state for music contests, and served on the Board of the Indiana Music Educators Association as Chairperson of Circle the State With Song. She was recognized for her Excellence in Education by the Vigo County Education Foundation.

In retirement, Lerene continues to share her expertise at the piano weekly at Baxter Health and serves as Worship Chairperson, pianist and President of United Women in Faith at her church.  Lerene's love for youth education has extended itself to being a Board member of Friends of the Hachery. Lerene serves at Recording Secretary, and her specific educational focus, working with husband, Joe, is organizing the annual Hatchery Outdoor Adventure.  Lerene is a true believer that educating children and youth to be good stewards of our ecosystem will have a long-lasting impact on their future core values.

Steve Blumreich / Board member through 2025

Tom Emerick / Board member through 2025

Mike Tipton Board Member through 2025

Mike Tipton is a retired software engineering project manager. He and his wife moved to the Twin Lakes area in 2005. he is a founding member of the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery  . Mike is past president of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers and a past chair of the Sowbug Roundup; he was a member of the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery in its early days. Mike rejoined the board of the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery because he believes in the importance of the hatchery to our local economy and because he enjoys participating in out reach activities sponsored by the Friends. Mike was the primary driving force for the Hatchery Outdoor Adventure in it's early years.

Susan Lee / Board Member through 2025

Bert Doeing/Board Member through 2025

Pat Smith ~ Board Member through 2025

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.