FRANKFORT – Fisheries crews from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will be collecting sauger, striped bass, muskellunge and walleye in the coming weeks to supply the state’s hatcheries with broodstock to produce fish for stocking across Kentucky.
Because hatcheries provide a safe and stable environment, fisheries employees can use some 235 adult broodfish collected from the wild to produce nearly 3 million small fish this year.
“We make every effort to return broodfish back to the waters from which they came in good condition,” said Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We want to produce quality fishing for all Kentuckians with these fish.”
Minor Clark Fish Hatchery near Morehead will use up to 60 Lake Erie strain walleye to produce about 1.3 million finger-sized (fingerling) fish for stocking in Dale Hollow, Laurel River, Carr Creek, Paintsville, Nolin River and Green River lakes. Lake Cumberland will also receive these fish with a few going to the Russell Fork River. Lake Erie walleye are not a native strain, but are well adapted to the lake environment in which they are stocked.
The hatchery will use approximately 30 native strain walleye to produce more than 100,000 fingerling fish. These walleye, which are native to Kentucky and adapted to river environments, will be stocked in the upper Kentucky River, Levisa Fork of Big Sandy River, the Rockcastle River, the lower Barren River and the Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls.
Some of these fish also will go into Martins Fork Lake in Harlan County and Wood Creek Lake in Laurel County. Both lakes are located in native walleye drainages, where the Lake Erie strains are not wanted.
These stockings are part of an effort to restore Kentucky’s native walleye to its former range.
Other plans call for the collection of 30-35 muskellunge to produce more than 6,000 fish for stocking in Cave Run, Green River, Buckhorn and Dewey lakes. An additional 4,000 muskellunge produced by Minor Clark Hatchery will be stocked in Barren, Red, Licking, Little Sandy, Redbird, Green and Kentucky rivers, as well as Tygarts, Kinniconick, Sexton, Goose, Station Camp, Sturgeon, Triplett and Drakes creeks.
Muskellunge will be stocked once they reach 9 to 13 inches.
Approximately 100 sauger will be collected and sent to the Pfeiffer Fish Hatchery near Frankfort to produce 95,000 fingerling fish for stocking in the Kentucky River system.
The hatchery will also produce 46,000 fingerling saugeye for stocking in Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County, Boltz Lake in Grant County and A.J. Jolly Lake in Campbell County. Saugeye are a hybrid of sauger and walleye.
Finally, 10 striped bass will be collected from the wild and matched with broodfish already at the Morehead hatchery to produce 680,000 hybrid striped bass and 710,000 striped bass for stocking at various locations around the state.