Swepco Lake stocked with crap­pie

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS AND EVENTS - FLIP PUTTHOFF fput­[email protected]

GEN­TRY — About 5,000 crap­pie have been stocked into Swepco Lake two miles west of Gen­try. The fish av­er­age five inches long. They are ex­pected to grow to 10 inches in a year or two.

An­glers at Swepco Lake shouldn’t be sur­prised if they find an oc­ca­sional crap­pie tug­ging on their fish­ing line.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion stocked 22,000 five-inch black crap­pie in the lake ear­lier this fall. The 500-acre lake two miles west of Gen­try is known for out­stand­ing large­mouth bass fish­ing. Crap­pie have been in the lake, but in low num­bers.

Stock­ing the fish will hope­fully es­tab­lish a plen­ti­ful crap­pie pop­u­la­tion at Swepco, said Jon Stein, re­gional fish­eries bi­ol­o­gist with Game and Fish. The stocked crap­pie are large enough that not many will be eaten by large­mouth bass, Stein noted.

In ad­di­tion to crap­pie, sev­eral thou­sand threadfin shad were stocked so bass, and the crap­pie too, will have more food. Larger giz­zard shad are plen­ti­ful in Swepco Lake. Giz­zard shad and sun­fish are the pri­mary food of Swepco’s black bass pop­u­la­tion, Stein said.

Redear sun­fish were stocked in Swepco about three years ago. The redear are another food for large­mouth bass, and food for an­glers, too.

Most crap­pie fish­er­men con­sider a keeper crap­pie to be about 10 inches long. The stocked crap­pie should reach 10 inches in a year or two, Stein said. Right now there’s no length limit on the crap­pie at Swepco Lake.

The statewide daily limit of 30 crap­pie cur­rently ap­plies, but the newly stocked crap­pie are so small an­glers are un­likely to catch many. If the crap­pie do well, stricter reg­u­la­tions might be needed down the road, Stein said.

The crap­pie were raised at the Char­lie Craig State Fish Hatch­ery in Cen­ter­ton where the wa­ter is about 20 de­grees colder than Swepco Lake. Stock­ing those crap­pie at Swepco was tricky be­cause of the lake’s warm wa­ter, said Heath Dake, a tech­ni­cian at the hatch­ery.

Swepco Lake stays warm in win­ter be­cause hot wa­ter from the coal-fu­eled Flint Creek Power Plant is dis­charged into the lake. Av­er­age wa­ter tem­per­a­ture is about 70 de­grees dur­ing fall and win­ter.

Warm wa­ter from Swepco Lake had to be trucked to the hatch­ery. Crap­pie to be stocked were tem­pered grad­u­ally from the cold 50-de­gree hatch­ery wa­ter to the 70-de­gree wa­ter from Swepco Lake.

The crap­pie are unique in that they are the blac­knose va­ri­ety of black crap­pie, Dake said. These have a black stripe from their eyes down to their mouth.

About 80 per­cent of the crap­pie stocked are the black-nose va­ri­ety, he said. Black crap­pie have black spots on their sides, while white crap­pie have stripes. An­glers catch black-nose crap­pie from time to time at other area lakes, in­clud­ing Beaver.

Large­mouth bass will no doubt re­main the mar­quee fish at Swepco Lake, but crap­pie afi­ciona­dos may soon be able to catch their fa­vorite fish, too.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF

About 5,000 crap­pie have been stocked into Swepco Lake two miles west of Gen­try. The fish av­er­age five inches long. They are ex­pected to grow to 10 inches in a year or two.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.