Eagle Lake stocked with new bass fingerlings

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eagle Lake’s bass population is getting a boost.

The Mississippi Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Parks stocked the lake with 161,000 Florida Strain largemouth bass fingerlings, or hatchlings, last week.

MDWFP fisheries biologist Jerry Brown said bass thrive and grow in Eagle Lake, but don’t reproduce well there in the long term. That makes stocking the lake each year a necessity.

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“We noticed in the past that reproductive levels were lower in Eagle Lake. We found out when we stocked them, they survived and reproduced extremely fast,” Brown said. “What we do know is that fish that do survive grow faster than any lake in the state. Eagle Lake has very fertile water, and it’s cut off from the more turbulent water in the river.”

The Florida-strain bass were selected for their ability to reach trophy size. They were raised at the MDWFP’s Turcotte Fish Hatchery near Canton.

Brown couldn’t say exactly how many of the fingerlings will survive to adulthood. Mississippi’s fishermen, however, are welcome to take their share once the fish grow up.

Anglers are allowed to keep as many as 10 largemouth bass per trip on Eagle Lake, provided the fish are longer than 16 inches. Other lakes in the state have different limits.

Any bass smaller than 16 inches must immediately be thrown back.

“That protects the population and lets the fish that are spawning, spawn,” Brown said.