Fisheries personnel with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have drained the Dardanelle Nursery Pond into Lake Dardanelle. An estimated 30,000 largemouth bass, averaging 6½ inches in length, and a large number of green sunfish and bluegill sunfish were released into the lake.
The Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery in Lonoke stocked 66,000 fingerling largemouth bass into the pond on May 31. The pond was previously stocked with 900 pounds of fathead minnows to serve as food fish for the bass. The pond was fertilized three times to produce a plankton bloom (food for the minnows) during the summer months.
Largemouth bass are very predaceous and literally eat each other up unless sufficient forage is available. Once these fingerlings begin to outgrow their siblings, then the bigger ones feed on the smaller ones regardless of the forage available.
Once the water in Lake Dardanelle began to cool down from 85 degrees, the AGFC released the pond. Activities at the pond this year included painting project signs, replacing a gate at the upper access, repairing the fence in one location and having the pond perimeter mowed.
Expenses incurred in producing this year’s production of 6½-inch yearling bass including transportation, man-hours, fence posts, 12 foot gate, fertilizer and cleanup after the pond was released came to a total of almost $5,000.
Logo courtesy Arkansas Game and Fish Commission