The AGFC is suspending the small mouth stocking due to low success. (2016)
stock have been released into Lake Ouachita.
Suitable habitat sites were selected with the help of biologists from north Arkansas who had experience with smallmouth bass populations in their lakes. Subsequent monitoring of these initial stockings has shown very little success of the native, river-strain fish naturally reproducing in the lake.
In the summer of 2002, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Andrew Hulsey Hatchery in Hot Springs received 1,700 fingerling smallmouth bass from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. These fish were spawned from brood stock at Tennessee's Norris Lake and raised at TWRA's Eagle Bend Hatchery. This particular strain of smallmouth bass is well known for its ability to thrive in reservoir habitat conditions.
The AGFC received the fish from TWRA as an ongoing cooperation between the two agencies, according to the AGFC's warmwater hatchery coordinator Don Brader. "In years of poor fish production, the Commission has received thousands of various fish species from TWRA, who have in turn received various species from the AGFC when their Tennessee hatcheries have failed to produce adequate numbers of young fish," Brader explained.
In 2003, the AGFC began a second effort at establishing a smallmouth bass fishery in Lake Ouachita by growing out the fingerling fish received from Tennessee to an average size of six to 12 inches, Brader said. "This summer 700 of those were stocked by boat into suitable habitat sites in the lower reaches of the lake between Blakely Dam and lake marker number one," he added. The remaining reservoir-strain smallmouth from Tennessee are currently being held at the Hulsey Hatchery and will be used as brood stock for spawning purposes next spring.
The AGFC plans to produce and stock approximately 100,000 fingerling smallmouth bass into Lake Ouachita each year for the next five years. The Commission hopes this introduction of the reservoir-strain smallmouth from Tennessee will produce a viable, self-sustaining smallmouth bass fishery in Lake Ouachita in the near future.
At the same time, the Commission is continuing its efforts to improve the Striped Bass and largemouth bass fishery in Lake Ouachita.
Spawning activity starts in the spring when water temperatures reach 60
degrees. The male builds a nest in quiet water, usually near
shore, or downstream from an obstruction that causes a break in the current.
By the time the fry work their way out of the nest on the ninth or tenth day, they are very dark in color. Under the watchful eye of the male, they swim in a dense dark cloud over the nest for a few more days, then begin to disperse. At first they fry eat microcrustaceans, but soon add insects and fish to their diet as they grow in size.
Smallmouth bass mature at age three or four, and occasionally live to be 10 to 12 years old. The usual smallmouth seen by anglers is 8 to 15 inches long, and weighs less than three pounds.
The smallmouth transmitter study has also been discounted.