Arkansas Fish and Game
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.
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.