The fish stocking is good news for many people who enjoy fishing for the popular species in Lake Buchanan, the uppermost of the Highland lakes created by damming the Texas Colorado River. It also is good news for local businesses that enjoy the economic benefit of lake visitors.
Since striped bass do not reproduce naturally in most Texas lakes, the fish are stocked annually by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in reservoirs throughout the state.
Production of fingerling striped bass has been reduced since 2000 due to the presence of toxic golden algae in TPWD’s fish hatcheries. Thus, there have been fewer fish available for stocking throughout Texas. Lake Buchanan did not receive any striped bass in 2001, although the lake did receive annual stockings in 2002 through 2005.
Members of the recently formed Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation asked LCRA and Burnet County commissioners for help to expand the striper fishery in Lake Buchanan.
As a result, both entities intend to contract with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery to produce about 150,000 fingerling striped bass. These fish will augment the 150,000 fish that TPWD plans to stock later this spring in Lake Buchanan.
The 300,000 striped bass should provide abundant fishing opportunities in future years. It takes about four years for stocked fish to reach legal size of 18 inches.
Under a tentative agreement reached by the participants, TPWD will provide striped bass “fry” to the Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery where the fish will be grown over a five to six-week period until they are about 1.5–2 inches.
At that point, these “fingerling” fish will be transported and stocked in Lake Buchanan. Burnet County is providing $10,000 and LCRA is providing $5,000 as their share of the project.