TPWD Stocks 4.6 Million Striped Bass Into Texas Lakes – Lake Mohave

ATHENS, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has just completed a successful striped bass spawning and stocking season.

TPWD Inland Fisheries Division personnel produced and stocked 4.6
million striped bass and hybrid striped bass fingerlings into 42 lakes.
An additional 2.6 million striped bass and hybrid striped bass fry were
stocked into three lakes.

– Lake Mohave

“This number of fish is smack dab in the middle of average
production levels prior to the onset of golden alga,” said Gerald
Kurten, hatchery program director for catfishes and striped bass. “We
are proud to be back where we should be in spite of the fact that
golden alga continues to be problematic for both the Dundee and Possum
Kingdom hatcheries. This year’s stockings represent about 80 percent of
the requests from TPWD Inland Fisheries managers. We stocked all the
lakes for which the managers requested fish, but a few of the larger
requests were not completely met.”

“Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is keenly aware of the
importance of the striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries to
local economies,” said Gary Saul, TPWD hatcheries chief. “Our staff
works around the clock for weeks to produce and stock these fish in
order to sustain this valuable fishery.”

The fingerlings were produced at the A.E. Wood Hatchery at San
Marcos, the Possum Kingdom Hatchery near Graford and the Dundee
Hatchery near Electra.

The process began with the collection of striped bass males and
egg-laden females from the Trinity River at the foot of Livingston Dam
in mid-April. The fish were transported in tank trailers to the
hatcheries, where TPWD fisheries biologists and technicians
continuously monitored the females to determine when the eggs they
carried were mature and ready to be spawned.

Technicians then stripped the eggs from each female into a container
while milt from one or more males was added. The eggs and milt were
mixed using a turkey feather, and the fertilized eggs were then placed
into hatching jars. Large striped bass females are capable of producing
as many as a million eggs.

After the fry hatched, most were reared in outdoor ponds to
fingerling size, about 1.5 inches long, before being stocked into lakes.

Complicating the process was the fact that the water supply at the
Possum Kingdom and Dundee hatcheries contained high levels of golden
alga, a microscopic organism that can produce toxins capable of killing
fish of any size. Hatchery personnel monitored the level of golden alga
toxins continuously during the spawning and grow-out periods and took
measures to ensure the fish survived.

Successful management of fingerlings ponds requires constant
attention to water quality parameters such as temperature, pH and
ammonia concentrations. High pH and ammonia concentrations are the key
to keeping golden alga at bay in hatchery ponds, but they are also
potentially lethal to young striped bass, so hatchery staff must
perform a balancing act to maintain the appropriate conditions in the
ponds. Fluctuations in temperature and cloud cover also have an impact,
and the staff has to consider how future weather will affect the ponds.
When golden alga is present, the fish can be lost at any time during
pond production, so constant vigilance on the part of the hatchery
staff and predictable weather are the keys to success.

Striped bass are anadromous like salmon in that they spawn in fresh
water and then migrate out to salt water. Striped bass were first
introduced into Texas in 1967, when they were stocked into lakes
Navarro Mills and Bardwell. They can survive in fresh water, and except
in Lake Texoma, they normally do not produce enough offspring naturally
to maintain their population. TPWD stocks fish to supplement the
natural production and provide additional fishing opportunity.

“The way our hatcheries do the spawning absolutely makes them the
leaders in this field,” says Roger McCabe, who retired in June 2005
after heading the Texas striped bass program for a quarter of a
century. “As far as stocking for maintaining fisheries is concerned, we
have the largest striped bass and hybrid striped bass stocking program
in the country.”

Hybrid Striped Bass Stockings, 2005

  • Wichita: 18,666
  • Lone Star: 14,328
  • Nasworthy: 6,933
  • Bridgeport: 71,788
  • Tawakoni: 189,557
  • Victor Braunig: 19,517
  • Belton (Bell County): 124,081
  • Richland-Chambers: 413,686
  • Mackenzie: 9,214
  • Walter E. Long: 6,073
  • Conroe: 201,367
  • Fort Phantom Hill: 63,400
  • Ray Hubbard: 216,814
  • Cooper Reservoir: 190,388
  • Calaveras: 46,643
  • Lake Georgetown: 6,475
  • Cedar Creek Reservoir: 215,660
  • Proctor: 67,524
  • Lewisville: 148,670
  • Somerville: 101,175
  • Medina: 81,265
  • Benbrook: 54,628
  • Palestine: 101,117
  • Graham: 12,867
  • Bardwell: 47,610
  • Casa Blanca: 16,061

Striped Bass Stockings, 2005

  • E. V. Spence: 37,243
  • Possum Kingdom: 156,355
  • Buffalo Springs: 3,686
  • Whitney: 332,999
  • Kemp (Baylor County): 149,771
  • Granbury: 125,155
  • Livingston: 526,148
  • Amistad: 318,908
  • Lavon: 107,008
  • Canyon: 40,997
  • Tawakoni: 100,211
  • Buchanan: 150,100
  • Travis: 96,000

– Lake Mohave

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