Why Largemouth Bass Should Be Stocked in Clinton and Perry Lakes, and How It Can Be Accomplished PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 20 March 2008 23:09

Recently, a diverse group of NE Kansas anglers meet to discuss how to make Perry and Clinton better waterways. Many of the folks in this group were part of the coalition that asked the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to stock reservoir-strain smallmouth bass into Clinton and Perry. That initiative began in late 2006, and it looks as if smallmouth bass will be stocked in 2008.

Ned Kehde, a familiar name in the outdoor's world, compiled their discussion into the following.  This is an interesting perspecitve.

On Oct. 1 and 2, 2005, Topeka received nearly 4 inches of rain and as much as 12 inches fell on areas north of the city in Jackson and Jefferson counties. Mother Nature’s deluge washed an untold number largemouth bass into Perry Lake.  Consequently, in the spring of 2006, bass angler began catching scores of 1 ½ - to six-pound bass, and that great bass fishing lasted until May of 2007.  Even during the winter of 2006-07, when the surface temperature at Perry registered 38 degrees, some bass anglers caught as many as 34 good-sized largemouth during a four-hour outing.  Throughout 2006 veteran crappie anglers were astonished by the number of largemouth bass that they inadvertently caught at various coverts across the reservoir’s main-body.  What’s more, crappie anglers who plied upper reaches of the reservoir in the Delaware River several miles downstream from Valley Falls reported catching an unusual number of largemouth bass.


From this experience and similar ones in decades past, it is obvious that a stocking program similar to the volume that Mother Nature rendered in October of 2005 could be replicated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park.


This could be accomplished by adroitly managing several dozen ponds that are stocked with largemouth bass that are fed and cultivated until they are two and three years old. It is essential that the largemouth bass are stocked as adults rather than fry and fingerling because white crappie predation would quickly destroy a stocking of fry and fingerling in Clinton and Perry.


A minor program of this kind has recently occurred at Melvern Lake, and several bass anglers report that it has worked well.


On a much larger scale, Chinese fishmongers and fish farmers have shown the world that it is a relatively easy task to raise largemouth bass.  Consequently since the turn of the century, an incredible number of largemouth bass have graced the fish markets and the culinary plates of Chinese citizens in Hong Kong and eastern China.


If the Chinese fish farmers can efficiently and economically raise largemouth bass, why can’t a group of Kansas bass anglers, bass clubs and the KDWP join forces and finances to build ponds where bass can be cultivated for several years and then stocked in Clinton and Perry, as well as similar reservoirs that don’t have appropriate nursery areas for recruitment of largemouth bass?   


In addition to the pond-raised largemouth bass, the KDWP, with the assistance of  groups of bass anglers, could periodically transplant largemouth bass from community and state fishing lakes that have become overpopulated with bass.


Because largemouth bass recruitment is so paltry at Clinton and Perry, a regular stocking of adult largemouth bass is the only way that Kansas anglers can consistently experience enjoyable and fruitful outings for this delightful and much-pursued species.


The stocking of adult largemouth bass would parallel the KDWP’s trout stocking program, and it would complement its stocking programs for catfish, wipers, walleye, sauger and saugeye.


Such an addition to Clinton and Perry will not only delight bass anglers, who are the most numerous and ardent anglers in eastern Kansas, but it will likely spawn a new generation of bass anglers and draw anglers from elsewhere to relish a bonanza similar to the one that unfolded after the flood of October of 2005 along Perry’s watershed.