Texas Parks and Wildlife stocking several ponds in reservoir footprint
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) made a special delivery on Oct. 29 to Bois d’Arc Lake which is currently under construction in Fannin County. TPWD staff stocked ponds in the footprint of the future lake with 2,000 selectively bred bass with the greatest potential to reach trophy size.
The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) started constructing Bois d’Arc Lake in 2018 to provide essential water for its growing region of 1.7 million North Texans. It will also offer North Texas a new hub for recreational activities, including fishing.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program has been selectively breeding angler-donated 13-pound and larger bass since 1986. The bass being stocked in ponds of the future Bois d’Arc Lake were selectively bred from a donated 13-pound bass called ShareLunker 581 (see picture), one of nearly 600 entered over the lifetime of the program. As offspring of this particularly large Florida largemouth bass, the Bois d’Arc Lake fingerlings are expected to grow quickly to two- to three-pounds each in only a couple of years, and be capable of spawning themselves by the time the reservoir fills and inundates the stocked ponds. This process will allow the fingerlings to maximize their genetic influence within the future lake’s bass population.
From their current home at the TPWD hatchery in Athens, crews used dip nets to move the bass into several hatchery tank trucks for the two-hour journey to Bois d’Arc Lake. Crews checked to make sure the water temperatures of the truck tanks and the ponds were comparable. They then used nets to capture and transfer the six- to nine-inch fingerling bass to their new home.
Florida largemouth bass have been stocked in nursery ponds prior to impounding a reservoir before, as in the case of Lake Fork and Ray Roberts; however, this is the first-time bass produced from the ShareLunker program have been stocked in ponds before a reservoir is impounded. When complete, Bois d’Arc Lake will be the first major reservoir built in Texas during the last 30 years. NTMWD is currently well underway building up the lake’s two-mile-long dam, and water delivery is scheduled to begin in 2022.
Over the next few years as the lake moves toward completion and after the bass population has been established, TPWD will also stock the lake with crappie and catfish.
Additional selectively-bred bass will be added once the lake begins to fill. Together these efforts will provide the region with some top-of-the-line fishing.
According to Dan Bennett, TPWD Fisheries Biologist for the Denison District, “Bois d’Arc Lake and these bass are expected to generate a significant amount of interest from anglers in coming years.”
Fishing and boating will both provide a significant boost to the local economy. An independent economic analysis estimated that lake recreational visitors will spend more than $17 million annually for dining, food, retail goods, and lodging in Fannin County.
For more information about the lake, visit www.BoisdArcLake.org. For more information on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit https://texassharelunker.com/.
About NTMWD: The North Texas Municipal Water District is a regional wholesale provider of water, wastewater and solid waste disposal services for approximately 1.7 million residents across 10 counties – a service territory covering 2,200 square miles.