After missing a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bass fishermen on the state’s busiest fishery helped the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks stock about 150,000 Florida bass in Barnett Reservoir in mid-May.
Fishermen used their bass boats to ferry the young bass from the drop-off points at the Goshen North Boat Ramp and in Pelahatchie Bay to be stocked into dense cover in backwater areas, helping raise the survival rate of the fish.
Fishermen were given a few thousand fingerlings per load to be released at any spot on the 33,000-acre lake of the boater’s choice.
“All we asked was that they stay within 10 minutes of the ramp unless they could put aerators in their coolers,” said Ryan Jones of the MDWFP. “It’s hard to determine exactly the impact this method has on survival rates, but it’s easy to say that it has a positive impact. It beats us pulling up in a truck and releasing the fish at the ramp. By releasing them into desired cover, they have a place to hide.”
Over the past seven years, this program has led to the stocking of over one million Florida fingerlings.
“The goal is not only to hopefully see these fish grow to preferred size for catch, but also to insure that the Florida bass gene remains in the population at Barnett,” Jones said.
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