Lake Ouachita Largemouth Bass fingerlings are more than doubling in size at the Nursery Pond, enabling the AGFC to stock bigger, healthier fish into Lake Ouachita.
The planned 2016 Nursery Pond fish crop will be walleye fingerlings. Walleye fry from annual Hulsey Hatchery spawning project will be stocked into the pond late March 2016 and grown to fingerling size prior to their release
The 2015 Lake Ouachita Nursery Pond fish crop (crappie fingerlings) was drained directly into Lake Ouachita in late June. The final release was estimated at 250,000 fingerlings mixed black & white crappies. The pond prematurely drained some fingerlings on three separate occasions as heavy rainfall raised the pond level up and into the overflow drain. Small crappies escaping the pond early had ample nursery cover with the lake elevation several feet up into the flood pool. Lake Ouachita stayed up in the flood pool (above 578’ elevation) through mid-June.
District 8 Biologist Brett Hobbs said the growth of the 2006 year
Black Bass crop was especially impressive in the Lake Ouachita nursery pond. 40,000 largemouth bass fingerlings averaging about two inches when they
came to us from Joe Hogan Hatchery at Lonoke in May. After 37 days in the
Lake Ouachita nursery pond the average was up to five inches.
That much of an increase is
excellent growth, Hobbs said. The 21-acre nursery pond is connection to Lake Ouachita in the South Fork
area near the Corps of Engineers
Joplin Recreation Area.
During the black bass fingerlings stay at the nursery pond they enjoy a predator-free and
food-filled environment that allows for rapid growth.
The nursery pond drains the Black Bass at about 5 inches directly
into Lake Ouachita once they deplete the provided food source in the pond.
When the Black Bass Fingerlings are allowed to reach larger sizes before release they are more resistant to natural predators.
Lake Ouachita Jim Collins
Net Pen Area