Start The Ripple

START A RIPPLE to help Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI)! | Knoxville’s One-Day Big Give event December 1


Are you ready to START A RIPPLE?

Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI) is proud to be part of the Big Give Knoxville’s 24-hour online giving campaign supported by the United Way ( ). From this link, you can search either Conservation Fisheries or just "CFI". This campaign, starting at MIDNIGHT on DECEMBER 1, is designed to raise money and awareness for our local non-profit community.

CFI’s founding biologists Pat Rakes and J.R. Shute had the crazy notion that they could save fishes they were seeing disappear from Southern Appalachian streams and rivers. Thus, Conservation Fisheries, Inc. was born 35 years ago. CFI propagates rare fish in the Knoxville, TN hatchery and stocks them in streams where they will hopefully thrive. Success means these endangered or threatened species may someday be removed from those “lists”! CFI’s work started in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but now CFI’s fishes are swimming in streams throughout the eastern U.S. CFI’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally.

Pat Rakes (left) and J.R. Shute in CFI’s Knoxville Hatchery.

(J. R. and Pat are collecting rare baby fishes to take back to the CFI hatchery where they will feed and care for them until they are large enough to be released elsewhere. (Photo by Freshwaters Illustrated. Used by Permission)

We all know what a tough year 2020 has been. However, in spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic, CFI’s work has not slowed down. We have just had a tougher time keeping our employees safe while also keeping our fishes happy and healthy (and interested in breeding). And we have several new projects that we can’t afford to turn down (nor do we want to). Agency contract funds that pay for these projects and a federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Plan loan) has kept us working, WE NEED YOUR HELP. Our hatchery building is at capacity. We need to expand our hatchery building and replace aging equipment, at an estimated cost of $600,000. Our contracts or other funding sources will not cover this urgent need. YOU CAN HELP US CONTINUE THIS IMPORTANT WORK! YOUR SUPPORT WILL HELP OUR NATION’S RARE FISH SURVIVE so all our grandchildren can see them!

Pat and the CFI crew participating in an educational event for children

(Photo by Evan Poellinger)

Young Yellowfin Madtom catfish (threatened) reared in the CFI hatchery being released to establish a new population. These fish are released at night when they are active (CFI photo).

The Big Give Knoxville campaign provides a variety of monetary prizes for organizations receiving the most donations for all hours during this 24-hour period, starting at 12:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time) on December 1. You can help us win some “extra” funds by with your donations at any hour of the day and from wherever in the world you live! Visit BigGiveKnox-ConservationFisheriesInc to make a tax-deductible donation during this 24-hour event to help us start the “ripple” and save these unique fish.

Adult male Bluemask Darter (endangered) in breeding colors in CFI’s Hatchery. (Used by permission)

Learn more at

Follow us on Facebook (,

Instagram (,

and watch some cool fish videos on UTube (!

You can also support us year-round (at no additional cost to you) with all of your Amazon purchases by listing CFI as an organization you wish to support (sign up at

Have questions about our work? Please email Peggy Shute at

Make a gift. Spread the word. Start the ripple!

Thank you for your support!

J.R. Shute and Pat Rakes