Lake Norfork-Bull Shoals Lake-White River-North Fork River-Buffalo River-Crooked Creek
Fish Stockings. Annually, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service combined stock over 13 million fish in public waters in Arkansas. Of these about 1/3 go to waters near Mountain Home. Most of these are the trout which go into the White, North Fork and Spring Rivers and Bull Shoals Lake. The rest include crappie, walleye, and catfish which are stocked into bothbig lakes and striped bass and hybrid stripers stocked into Norfork only. Other fish regularly stocked in this area include redear sunfish (in Norfork Lake), largemouth bass into some smaller lakes and the cool water section of the White and other species as our population samples demonstrate the need.The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission operates 4 warmwater hatcheries which produce bass, crappie, catfish, and many other warm and cool water fish for our lakes and rivers. Our Spring River State Fish Hatchery at Mammoth Springs produces many of the trout stocked in district waters. Federal hatcheries at Greers Ferry and Norforlk Lakes produce about 2/3 of the trout stocked in the areas waters. In addition, trout and catfish are produced at our net pen facility in Pot Shoals Bay on Bull Shoals. Nursery ponds, small reservoirs which drain directly into larger ones, are present on Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes (the Bull Shoals Nursery pond is out of production this year pending repairs). Our nursery ponds are generally used to produce walleye.
The Bull Shoals Net Pen facility is used to raise Blue and Channel catfish in the summer and trout during the winter. There are five net pens 20 feet wide, 40 feet long, and 15 feet deep suspended from pontoon units. Each pen can be used to raise 50,000 fish to about a pound each. The pens can be pushed to various locations on the lake and the fish released directly into the water, or beached and the fish loaded onto fish trucks for distribution to other waters. The advantages to this system over most techniques are the low personnel requirements compared to total produciton, reduced water quality problems, and elimination of need for water supply such as wells. The main disadvantages are the difficulty in treating some diseases and parasite infestations and stocking so many fish at one time instead of spreading them out over a long period.
The nursey pond in the East Sugarloaf area of Bull Shoals Lake is a 10 acre pond built adjacent to the lake. It is separated from the lake by a dam that has a pipe running through it. Usually we stock this pond with 600,000 to 1,000,000 1 to 2 day old walleye fry and raise them to a size of 1 to 2 inces then drain the pond, fish and all, into the lake when conditions are most suitable for the survival of the young fish. The ish are handled very little and can be stocked without the mortality and costs associated with hauling them from hatchery ponds. The Bull Shoals Nursery Pond has been out of operation for several years because of a severe leak but repairs are scheduled for 1997.