Archive for January 9th, 2008

ShareLunker Program: Breeding in Captivity

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish Restoration Program

The ShareLunker program takes largemouth bass—13-pounds or more—and uses them to breed even bigger bass. By placing the males and females in the same tank, you’d think nature would take its course. It’s not that easy, says program coordinator, David Campbell.

It’s very hard to get these older fish to spawn in a strange environment.

The bass donated to the ShareLunker program are ten years old or more—which makes them eligible for membership in the aquatic equivalent of AARP. Besides, the journey to the spawning tanks is stressful.

When you catch a thirteen-pound bass with a rod and reel, that’s not something you just reel in real quick and get it out of the water and put it in a live well—it usually takes some time, and it stresses the fish.

Do you feel romantic when you’re exhausted and stressed? Apparently, neither do bass. Music and dim lights work for humans. I asked, in jest, whether Campbell tried such mood enhancers with the bass.

(laughter) We haven’t tried it, but we have thought about it. (chuckles) We thought about a lot of this in the first few years of the program because we found it was extremely difficult to get them to spawn.

They’re doing something right, because three-quarters of a million fry have been stocked in lakes from the ShareLunker program. How to donate to the program tomorrow.

That’s our show for today…with support fro the Sport Fish Restoration Program…providing funding for the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti