Arkansas has one of the largest state-owned fish hatchery systems in the nation, and the Game and Fish Commission’s Joe Hogan Hatchery at Lonoke has been growing fish almost as long as the commission has existed. The hatchery grows several species of fish, but the Lonoke facility is most well known for growing catfish.
Last year, when biologists sampled Greers Ferry Lake, predatory fish such as crappie, walleye and bass were in poor condition. Biologists also noted that threadfin shad, the preferred forage for many species, were nowhere to be found.
To help re-establish the threadfin shad population, AGFC staff purchased 37,500 threadfin shad from a commercial hatchery to add to the lake. Recently, the AGFC stocked 16,000 shad at Choctaw in the upper end of the lake and 16,000 more in the Heber Recreation Area in the lake’s lower end. The remaining 5,500 shad were stocked in the lake’s nursery pond near Mill Creek. The pond was cleared of any species that would compete with the shad or feed upon them, allowing the shad to grow larger and possibly reproduce before being released into the main lake, according to AGFC fisheries biologist Matt Schroeder.
Threadfin Shad being stocked into Greers Ferry Lake by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
AGFC’s hatcheries also purchased threadfin shad and are beginning to work toward raising the forage species for future stockings in Greers Ferry Lake and other lakes where forage production sees a drop. “We’re hoping to see a lot of improvements to our lakes’ growth rates and overall populations as our hatcheries learn how to produce more shad and fine-tune that effort,” Schroeder said.
Shad stockings are only part of the plan to help Greers Ferry Lake. All stockings of predatory fish have been halted on the lake until the forage base has improved. A massive habitat project also will be underway this fall to add tons of complex cover that will provide habitat for fish and fishing locations for anglers.
HEBER SPRINGS – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Trout Management Program will host a public workshop at 6 p.m., July 21 at the Heber Springs Community Center to receive public comments and feedback on the newly developed draft of its plan to manage the Greers Ferry Tailwater.
This is the second public workshop to involve the public and the angling community in the future of the 30-mile long trout fishery on the Little Red River below Greers Ferry Dam. The current management plan was developed in 2006, and management actions outlined in that plan were implemented in 2007. Biologists now want to determine if those strategies have worked and whether public expectations of the fishery have changed.
The Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to celebrate one of the largest fireworks displays in Arkansas over spectacular Greers Ferry Lake. Join us by car or boat on Saturday, July 2nd to view the 2016 Fireworks Extravaganza on the shores of Sandy Beach in Heber Springs.