The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is pleased to announce its 2009 Fish Production and Stocking Plan which will map out the state's goals when it comes to keeping Nevada's fishable waters stocked.
Mark Warren, acting staff specialist, said that this year the Fisheries Division's biggest goals are to focus on the first year of full production for the newly renovated Gallagher Hatchery in Eastern Nevada, to maintain the state's regular fish production schedule despite the challenges caused by drought and to plant 1,138,825 catchable fish in Nevada's lakes and rivers.
Patrick Sollberger, staff specialist, said that their main goal is to stock in a way so that there is always fish in the water.
"Each water has an angler catch rate goal that we try to keep up," Sollberger said.
It's a big task even in the best of conditions, and this year the Fisheries Division is facing a third year of drought and quagga mussels in the Lake Mead Hatchery.
"We've had two years of drought and this will be the third year," Warren said. "And in drought years the rivers can become very low in the fall, which affects when and how much we stock."
Also included in the Fish Production and Stocking Plan is the release of unique fish that are "Easter eggs" for anglers.
"Keep an eye out for unique fish strains like tiger trout, bowcutt trout and triploid rainbow trout," Warren said. "It's a fun thing we do. That way anglers not only have a great time catching the fish, but they feel great for having caught such a unique fish."
Bowcut trout are a sterile hybrid between rainbow and cutthroat trout that grow larger than average trout strains. Triploid trout are a special sterile strain of rainbow trout that are stocked in waters where management objectives are focused on enhancing native trout populations.
The process of creating an annual stocking plan is a big one that starts right at the source with biologists analyzing individual bodies of water and deciding how many and what type of fish would be appropriate to stock in each lake, river and stream.
"When we have all the plans compiled we present these plans to the County Advisory Boards to Manage Wildlife (CABMW)," Sollberger said. "The CABMWs modify and approve the plans and they are then sent to the Wildlife Commission which gives the final approval."
This year's stocking plan includes: 465, 250 fish planted in Eastern Nevada, 354,950 fish planted in Southern Nevada and 401,775 fish planted in Western Nevada. The important thing is to remember that everything in the plan is tentative and can be delayed or changed
by problems at the hatchery or in the field.
Warren also said that if an angler happens to be out when the fish trucks arrive and the water is being stocked to remember the spirit of the sport.
"People get excited and sometimes catch over the limit in their excitement," Warren said. "Just remember the wardens are there watching and won't hesitate to give you a friendly reminder of the limits."
The 2009 Fish Production and Stocking Plan can be found at www.ndow.org/fish/stocking and NDOW will begin providing weekly stocking reports every Friday at 5 p.m. at the same web address starting in March. These stocking reports will detail the species of fish planted in Nevada waters as well as how many and their average size.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, promotes fishing, hunting and boating safety. NDOW's wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen's license and conservation fees and a Federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.
Jake Sunderland (775) 688-1558