Buddy Gough Arkansas Democrat
Love them or hate them, striped bass will continue to be stocked in Beaver Lake for at least another year. However, the recent release of about 90, 000 fingerling stripers into the lake nearly didn’t happen, according to Ron Moore, the Rogers-based district fisheries biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “We were looking forward to doing the stocking in high water when the fingerlings do much better, but we thought we might have to cancel it altogether because of a problem at the Hot Springs hatchery,” Moore said Thursday. He explained that stripers destined for stocking are spawned and raised to fingerling size in Hot Springs, but when this year’s crop was separated for shipment, they were found to be contaminated with yellow bass. “No one knows how the yellow bass got mixed in with the stripers, but they are the first cousins to white bass and are prolific spawners,” Moore said. “We don’t have yellow bass in Beaver Lake and we didn’t want to see them get started in the lake.” Consequently, the stocking appeared to be a bust until someone at the hatchery came up with a novel solution to separate the yellow bass from the stripers.
“Someone decided that since striped bass are originally a saltwater species, they should be able to tolerate saltwater, while a freshwater species like yellow bass shouldn’t tolerate saltwater. So what they did was put all the fish in a saltwater solution for about 12 hours,” Moore explained. The experiment worked. The little stripers adapted to the saltwater solution and the yellow bass died. The fingerlings were transferred back to freshwater for shipment to Beaver Lake and appeared to have survived the transition and journey when they were released into the lake near the U. S. 412 bridge. “They really looked good,” Moore said. Pending continued success with the saltwater treatment, Moore hopes to meet this year’s goal of stocking 200, 000 striper fingerlings in Beaver Lake.
SMALL LAKES GET FISH, TOO Sixteen small lakes and ponds across Northwest Arkansas received stockings of catchable catfish and rainbow trout during June as part of the Game and Fish Commission’s summer fishing program.
Altogether, commission crews stocked more than 2 million fish weighing about 89, 000 pounds during the month.