POA ups num­ber of fish-raising ponds

The Weekly Vista - - News - LYNN ATKINS latkins@nwadg.com

This year, the POA will have four nurs­ery ponds, dou­ble the num­ber used last year, but they will prob­a­bly all be used to raise crap­pie, Lakes and Park Su­per­in­ten­dent Rick Echols said.

He ar­ranged to have two ad­di­tional ponds on the Berks­dale Golf Course drained this spring, bring­ing his to­tal up to four, he said. Drain­ing the ponds and let­ting the bot­tom dry kills some of the in­sects that could kill the tiny fish. Any large fish in the ponds are moved to a dif­fer­ent pond, he said when the project be­gan last spring.

Find­ing fish to put in the ponds is some­times dif­fi­cult.

Last year Echols bought 100,000 wall­eye fry in Iowa to raise in one pond, but af­ter he moved the tiny fish to their new home, the state told him he couldn’t put them in Bella Vista lakes. The Ar­kan­sas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion over­sees all lakes in­clud­ing the man­made ones in Bella Vista. Be­cause the com­mis­sion re­al­ized Echols had acted in good faith, they do­nated some wall­eye to stock in the area and later they al­lowed him to move his sur­viv­ing fish. Un­for­tu­nately, by the time the state gave him per­mis­sion to move the fish, only a small per­cent­age sur­vived.

With an empty pond to fill, Echols went to Hot Springs Vil­lage look­ing for wall­eye that would be en­cour­aged to spawn in his nurs­ery pond. He planned to raise enough to stock some fish in both Bella Vista and Hot Springs. But he found only saug­eye, a hy­brid fish that doesn’t re­pro­duce well. The wall­eye in Bella Vista lakes are still too young to be used as brood stock, he said.

He has con­sid­ered raising cat­fish in one pond. Cat­fish will re­pro­duce in Bella Vista lakes, but he usu­ally stocks some each year. He be­lieves they would do well in a golf course nurs­ery pond, but be­cause cat­fish are easy to raise, they are also in­ex­pen­sive to stock. It may not be a money saver to raise them in the pond, he said.

The crap­pie raised in a pond did well last year. He caught the brood fish in one of the Bella Vista lakes and even­tu­ally stocked 3,700 crap­pie in three Bella Vista lakes. This year he may have four times that num­ber.

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