Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery in Hot Springs
State-of-the-art equipment aids state hatchery in multiplying the fishes
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - With a new building and state-of-the-art equipment, the Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery in Hot Springs is now able to provide more striped bass, hybrid striped bass and walleye to the state's fisheries.
Don Brader, warm water coordinator and hatchery manager, said with the new facilities the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission can now provide almost double the number of fry to other hatcheries.
''We couldn't have those babies if we didn't have the building to work with,'' he said.
The $1.8 million building is 3,700 square feet. Striped bass, hybrid striped bass and walleye have previously been spawned at the hatchery, now with the new equipment and increased amounts of water available, the fish can now be hatched onsite, and in greater numbers before being sent to other state hatcheries.
The hatchery also began hatching walleye this year, Brader said.
''Until we had this building, we didn't have the capabilities to hatch the walleye eggs we had been taking. We had to send them to the Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery at Centerton,'' he noted.
The hatchery produced an estimated 800,000 walleye in February and April, along with 2.7 million stripers and 3.5 million hybrid stripers that were hatched.
Water is pumped from Lake Hamilton through a 1,100-foot pipe and is then filtered by five sand filters and stored in a 3,000-gallon head tank where the water can be retrieved when needed.
It is passed through an ultraviolet sterilizer where UV radiation kills any remaining bacteria. Then it is passed through a chiller or a heater.
''(The fish) are very intolerant to water temperature change,'' Brader said. ''Fertilized eggs of each fish species develop at different temperatures and we have to provide the appropriate temperature for successful hatching.''
When the eggs hatch, the fry are transferred to round tanks, where they will grow until they are ready to be taken to Hulsey Hatchery ponds or shipped to other hatcheries, Brader said.