Water Critical for Fish Stockings
Galen Jons, Fisheries Biologist

Although recent rains have brought much-needed moisture to the area, they have not been enough to replenish most local lakes. Still, some of our lakes are doing fine thanks to heavy rains earlier in the year. Also, due to timely rainfall, there is less water being used by communities for things like watering lawns. And then there is the ever-popular Lake Kirby. Although this lake has received very little water from rainfall, it has risen steadily since last fall when the city of Abilene began pumping reclaimed water into the lake. This has helped maintain a lake level where we can continue stocking fish, in hopes that the lake will fill to near capacity in the next year or two and create a fantastic fishery.

During spring of 2001, we stocked forage fish such as bluegill, fathead minnows, silversides (ghost) minnows and golden shiners into Lake Kirby. We also stocked saugeye fry and equal numbers of blue and channel catfish fingerlings. During spring of 2002, we stocked threadfin shad, white crappie and largemouth bass, along with another dose of saugeye. Next year we will stock flathead catfish. We didn't want to stock the flatheads too soon as they may eat most of the fish we are stocking now!
We have been busy stocking fish into many other area lakes. Largemouth bass have been stocked into lakes Possum Kingdom and Stamford. Hybrid striped bass have been stocked in lakes Millers Creek, Ft. Phantom Hill, and Nasworthy. Lakes Graham and Proctor should receive hybrid striped bass this week, and Lake Brownwood is slated to get them next week. Channel catfish fingerlings are scheduled to be stocked into lakes Scarborough and Coleman. Larger adult catfish will be stocked into smaller lakes later this fall.


Lakes E.V. Spence and Colorado City have been at the top of the list for receiving stocked fish. However, as of this week, the water in both lakes is still too toxic to allow stocking. In case you hadn't heard, this toxicity stems from the Golden Algae blooms that have decimated the two lakes over the last few months. The lakes will be stocked when the water quality has returned to normal and fish are available.

We also have a number of other lakes that we had planned to stock, but cannot do so because of low water levels. These include lakes such as Abilene, Baird, Clyde, Daniel and several other smaller lakes. Unfortunately, these lakes have not received enough runoff from rainfall to make stocking a viable option. Although these lakes have water and are supporting adult fish populations, stocking fish in them now would be a waste. The stocked fish would likely get eaten immediately by adult fish that are left in the lakes.
Rest assured that we will continue stocking our lakes as they fill. The drought has been painful for area fisheries, and it will take some time to recover. We fully expect excellent fishing to return to some of our lakes as early as next summer. Actually, there is some good fishing to be had right now in many area lakes - we just think it will be much better after several years of stable or rising water levels!







Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.
5325 N. 3rd
Abilene, TX 79603
(915) 692-0921

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