Fewer but larger Florida-strain fingerlings are being stocked in Louisiana waters this year.
“Our idea on that is we think we’re going to get more bass into that natural population in the long run because they will survive so much better,” said Mike Wood, Inland Fisheries Director for the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF). “We think fewer large fingerlings (2 inches) will net a higher survival than will a larger number of small fingerlings (3/4 inch).”
The number stocked will depend on spawning success in the state’s four hatcheries, but 2.5 million or more fish could be placed in more than 30 water bodies, according to DWF.
One possible negative for this plan is that bass quickly turn cannibalistic as they grow. “They can’t help it, so they’re going to eat each other and we lose numbers the longer we hold them, and that’s the frustration of our hatchery folks,” Wood added. “Every day we hold them, we have fewer and fewer fish.
“But again, with a larger fingerling, I feel like I can get 10-to-1 better survival than with the very small ones.”
Toledo Bend and Bayou D’Arbonne rank at the top of the list for size of stocking, with 820,880 fingerlings requested for the former and 300,000 for the latter.