LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Fish are nearly everywhere in Arkansas – lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, ponds, swamps. But what produces them?
There are three sources here in 2013.
First and by
far the most effective is natural reproduction. Nature puts the fish in
the Natural State and guides their reproduction and proliferation.
the fish raised in the five hatcheries of the Arkansas Game and Fish
commission and three hatcheries of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Third are the nursery ponds of the Game and Fish Commission on many of the lakes in the state.
reproduction is given a helping hand by fish biologists, technicians and
volunteers, concerned anglers, in the form of maintaining and improving
habitat. These efforts range from extensive renovations of lakes and
streams to simple projects like tying a weight to a discarded Christmas
tree and sinking it in the water.
fisheries personnel and private citizens build and put in place
artificial fish shelters. These provide places for baby fish to use
while growing to adult sizes. The also give cover to other adult fish.
work across Arkansas takes other forms, too, like cleaning up the water
and the shorelines. The Game and Fish Commission has Stream Team
operations all over Arkansas in which volunteers join the agency's
personnel in picking up trash from paper to foam food containers to
tires and household appliances. Cleaner water means better fish
are stocked into waters in all Arkansas counties from fish raised in the
hatcheries and the nursery ponds. These stockings are supplements to
natural reproduction with an exception. Rainbow trout are a put-and-take
fish species in Arkansas since there is little natural reproduction.
The trout were introduced decades ago when the construction of dams on
rivers wiped out the native warm water fish downstream from them.
Fish Commission hatcheries are at Lonoke, Corning, Mammoth Spring,
Centerton and Hot Springs. A fleet of special trucks transport their
young fish to waters all over the state. Federal hatcheries are at
Mammoth Spring, Norfork and near Heber Springs.
makes heavy use of nursery ponds. Brood fish use these to produce crops
of specified species. When ready, gates are opened, and the fish go
directly into the water to boost the numbers of fish from natural
in nursery ponds are usually game species like crappie, largemouth bass,
channel catfish and red-ear bream. But sometimes forage species like
threadfin shad are produced to supplement the food fish in a particular