5 Super Cool Secrets About Fish Stocking
Fish populations are managed in a number of ways, but one of the most important ways is through federal or state-initiated fish stocking efforts. Fish stocking uses hatchery-reared fish to enhance existing fisheries and build populations of certain species within particular bodies of water.
Here are five super cool secrets about fish stocking efforts that you may not know:
Certain states offer opportunities for private ponds and lakes to be stocked if an application is submitted to the state for approval and a stocking permit is obtained. By requiring a fish stocking permit, biologists can look at the potential impact that the stocked species may have on predation, competition and spread of disease agents in order to make determinations on the risk to the existing fish population in the waters intended for stocking and nearby waters. If you are thinking of stocking a private lake or pond, be sure to check with your agriculture extension service or the fish and wildlife agency in your state.
Many states provide information to the public online regarding fish stocking schedules and summaries. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for example, offers fish stocking information and freshwater fish stocking summaries at MyFWC.com. You can also check local fishing reports for the latest information on stocking locations and dates in your area.
The most commonly stocked freshwater fish is trout, but other popular species such as largemouth bass, walleye, steelhead or catfish are also stocked. Brook and rainbow trout are the most common coldwater sport fish. Millions of trout are targeted each year by young children who are hoping to reel in a #firstcatch as well as by anglers who have decades of fishing experience.
When biologists plan to stock species such as largemouth bass, generally bluegill and other forage fish are well established in the body of water first. This way, when the stocked bass are added to the body of water, there is plenty of prey for the fish to feed upon.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, in conjunction with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, offers access to the Great Lakes Fish Stocking Database online so that the public can query raw fish stocking data based on parameters such as species, lake and stage of growth. This data is available for Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, St. Clair and Superior.
Now that you have some good fish stocking resources to use before your next fishing trip, learn more about the places where fish live and thrive by downloading a PDF file that outlines the basic types of fish habitats.
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Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.