I guess part of my brain is permanently wired to childhood assumptions when it comes to certain subjects. When I was a kid, one of my favorite parts of the Missouri State Fair was going to the Conservation Department to see all the fish and water creatures. I think it's still something that a lot of people, old and young, look forward to.

And in my child's brain, everything on the Fairgrounds was there all year around, and it was just that way because I wanted it to be that way. After all, we never really went out there for anything else when we were little. Of course, as the years went on, I realized the adult truth about the situation.

It's been so up and down weather wise recently, that I saw a lot of posts on social media about pets being outside. So my brain wandered over to the fish we go see every year. I thought, "Oh jeez, is there someone that tends to them all year? Are they still there? If not, where do they go?"

Never Fear, I did find out what happens to the fish at the Conservation display.  I got in touch with Trish Yasger at the Missouri Department of Conservation, and she had the answer!

As for the fish in the Conservation pavilion – these fish are kept in 2 ponds at MDC’s Lost Valley Hatchery in Warsaw.  We start setting up the aquaria in July and the fish are brought in the Monday and Tuesday prior to the start of the Fair. On the Monday after the Fair the aquaria are drained and the fish go back to Lost Valley Hatchery, where they are cared for until next year’s Fair.  We keep track of what fish go back into the fair ponds. So, that during the spring and early summer MDC biologists collect any additional fair fish needed for that year’s fair. These fish are only displayed at the State Fair.


So there you have it! If you were wondering, or your kids asked you and weren't sure, there's your answer. The fish are taken to a lovely hatchery not very far from here, and they're lovingly cared for all year, giving biologists lots of information for research.

Fishingly yours,

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