The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management has successfully spawned Florida largemouth bass out of season for the twelfth year in a row at Richloam Fish Hatchery in Webster. This practice allows biologists to produce twice as many largemouth bass per year than other state’s hatchery systems whose hatcheries produce spawn only once a year. The benefit to the FWC is the efficiency of producing more fish without the added expense of collecting additional broodstock.
Freshwater fisheries biologists collected a total of 41 individual spawns during October 2020 that yielded over 250,000 fry, which were stocked in hatchery ponds to grow. Spawning Florida largemouth bass out of season provides other advantages for fisheries managers because south Florida warms up sooner than central and north Florida. Because south Florida is warmer earlier in the year, spawning fish out of season at Richloam Hatchery provides game fish to this region at a time when the fry’s natural forage is available, thus increasing the chances the fish stocked from the hatchery will survive. The 2020 out-of-season year class will be stocked in Lake Trafford in the spring and in Orlando community fishing ponds in the summer of this year.
For more information about the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, contact Laura Rambo Walthall at 850-488-0520 or Laura.Walthall@MyFWC.com.