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Quillback

Indian Creek, May 10

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I believe I can shed some light on this discussion with a little background information,

Stump is partially correct regarding the utilization of the Beaver Lake Nursery Pond for walleye stocking.  We tried a couple of years to put walleye fry in the pond and grow them to fingerling size for direct stocking into the lake but we weren't very successful.  Because of the shallow nature of the pond, water temperatures would cool rapidly in the early spring during cold fronts, causing zooplankton die-offs and subsequent fry die-offs.  The pond had been very useful in producing sunfish species, smallmouth, crappie etc. but didn't work too well for walleye.  

Since the pond was sketchy for producing walleye, we changed tactics by utilizing the Charlie Craig Hatchery in Centerton.  We collected broodstock from the Kings River and the White River below the dam, took the fish to the hatchery where they were spawned by hand. The eggs were hatched in specialized jars with constant water flow.  The fry that hatched were grown to fingerling size on the hatchery before stocking in Beaver Lake and other lakes in Arkansas. The hatchery crew became so efficient at walleye fingerling production that they were responsible for almost all walleye stocking in Arkansas Lakes!

After seeing the survival and growth rates of the walleye fingerlings in Beaver Lake I decided to make a commitment to establish a good walleye population in the lake with routine annual stockings.  We did see some natural reproduction after a few years documented by a study that included marking all the stocked fingerlings with a chemical that identified them as stocked fish when captured in later studies.  Jon Stein, current District Biologist, tells me natural reproduction was very significant some years.  Hopefully it will reach a point where the walleye population is self sustaining.    

Hope this was helpful.  

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20 minutes ago, Notropis said:

I believe I can shed some light on this discussion with a little background information,

Stump is partially correct regarding the utilization of the Beaver Lake Nursery Pond for walleye stocking.  We tried a couple of years to put walleye fry in the pond and grow them to fingerling size for direct stocking into the lake but we weren't very successful.  Because of the shallow nature of the pond, water temperatures would cool rapidly in the early spring during cold fronts, causing zooplankton die-offs and subsequent fry die-offs.  The pond had been very useful in producing sunfish species, smallmouth, crappie etc. but didn't work too well for walleye.  

Since the pond was sketchy for producing walleye, we changed tactics by utilizing the Charlie Craig Hatchery in Centerton.  We collected broodstock from the Kings River and the White River below the dam, took the fish to the hatchery where they were spawned by hand. The eggs were hatched in specialized jars with constant water flow.  The fry that hatched were grown to fingerling size on the hatchery before stocking in Beaver Lake and other lakes in Arkansas. The hatchery crew became so efficient at walleye fingerling production that they were responsible for almost all walleye stocking in Arkansas Lakes!

After seeing the survival and growth rates of the walleye fingerlings in Beaver Lake I decided to make a commitment to establish a good walleye population in the lake with routine annual stockings.  We did see some natural reproduction after a few years documented by a study that included marking all the stocked fingerlings with a chemical that identified them as stocked fish when captured in later studies.  Jon Stein, current District Biologist, tells me natural reproduction was very significant some years.  Hopefully it will reach a point where the walleye population is self sustaining.    

Hope this was helpful.  

The next lake down is a bit different as I understand it. The flow between Beaver dam and no flow lake is not long or strong enough. The only natural reproduction happens on the kings river some years. Stocking adds the vast majority of the walleye population. The Missouri experts tell me that they consider Table Rock a put and take lake for walleye.

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Good points rps! 

Table Rock is certainly different than Beaver, especially when comparing the nutrient loads coming from the White River tributaries.  Above Beaver, the White River is all watershed (falling as rain over the ground then into the lake) where it picks up a lot of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) whereas the water from the White River going into Table Rock has had a large percentage of the nutrients removed and utilized in Beaver.  

I'm not sure it's the of the distance of the flow below the dam that hinders the walleye spawning success as much as the cold water temperatures coming from below the dam. Walleye eggs are adhesive and stick to the gravel in the shoals where the females release them, they don't float downstream like striped bass eggs and don't require long stretches of current to hatch.  Either way, I don't doubt that the spawn is not very successful in the Beaver Tailwaters most years.  There are good conditions for successful walleye spawns in the Kings River and to a lesser extent Long Creek but natural predation on the walleye fry take their toll.  Survival of most fish species from fry to adulthood is very low, many times less than 1%.  Stocked fingerlings have a much higher chance of surviving than fry.  Knowing this we periodically stocked walleye fingerlings in both the White River below the dam and the Kings River (in addition to the walleye stocked by Missouri) to insure good numbers of walleye in Table Rock and a continued place where we could get good broodstock for our needs in Arkansas.          

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