Drought and the Dundee Fish Hatchery

This is Passport to Texas

The freshwater hatchery business is a risky one because it relies on the cooperation of nature—and it can be fickle.

Last year’s heat and drought took a devastating toll on the state’s water supplies, leaving reservoirs dangerously low.

06—This year it looks the Dundee Fish Hatchery may get to that point where we really don’t have enough water to operate.

I spoke with Todd Engeling, Chief of Inland hatcheries for Texas parks and Wildlife, in late February, and by mid-March, operations at the Dundee hatchery near Wichita Falls were suspended due to lack of sufficient water. Although many areas of the state received spring rains, Engeling said the area west of Wichita Falls around Lakes Kemp and Diversion did not.

As the hatchery is one of the state’s primary producers of striped bass and hybrid striped bass fingerlings for stocking into Texas public waters, what now?

20—We will be able to operate on a very limited basis, our spawning operations. So, we will be able to spawn our striped bass and hybrid striped bass as we have traditionally done there, because the systems we use are re-circulating systems. They don’t use a lot of water at all. So, basically the four remaining hatcheries in Texas would receive those fry and put them in their production ponds for grow out.

Find more information on the TPW website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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