Friday, October 10, 2014

Channel catfish from MDC hatcheries stocked for anglers

Liberty, Mo. – More than 85,000 channel catfish were stocked in community lakes this
week by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The autumn stocking of young catfish reared in MDC’s Lost Valley Hatchery gives the fish a chance to grow during winter and be ready for anglers when spring raises fishing fevers.
   Jake Allman on Tuesday, Sept. 30, carried several dip nets full of catfish to lakes at Liberty’s Fountain Bluff Sports Complex.
   “I’m hoping a good portion of those fish become a young kid’s first fish and they become an angler for life,” said Allman, an MDC fisheries management biologist.
    An MDC fishery crew released more than 400 channel catfish at Fountain Bluff. The fish were 8- to 12-inches long and reared at Lost Valley Hatchery in Warsaw, Mo.  Catfish from Lost Valley were also stocked at other community lakes in western Missouri.
    Also scheduled in October is the stocking of more than 80,000 channel catfish throughout Missouri that were reared at the MDC’s Chesapeake Hatchery near Mount Vernon.
   MDC stocks channel catfish in lakes in urban settings such as the Kansas City metro and at community lakes such as North Bethany City Reservoir in northwest Missouri. The stockings give anglers opportunities to catch fish close to home. Larger catfish from hatcheries are stocked in spring in summer. But the autumn stocking with smaller catfish allows them to grow on a diet of natural foods and reduces hatchery costs, Allman said.
   “We’re able to get a lot more bang for our buck this way,” he said.
   The stockings provide catchable, eating-sized catfish in small lakes and ponds where natural reproduction can’t keep pace with angler catch rates. But rearing catfish from egg to fingerling to stocker is a year-round effort at hatcheries such as Lost Valley. MDC biologists use a complex mix of science, know-how and monitoring.
   On Tuesday and Wednesday, hatchery ponds at Lost Valley with channel catfish were drained low. A crane hoisted baskets with catfish out of the water and onto trucks with aerated tanks designed to carry fish. MDC crews then drove the fast-growing fish to lakes where channel catfish are highly valued by anglers.
   More information about Missouri fishing opportunities and MDC fish hatcheries is athttp://www.mdc.mo.gov.