Arkansas River, Florida bass

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Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
A sampled bass from Pool 5 of the Arkansas River. This fish was more than 20 inches long and weighed nearly 4 1/2 pounds.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – For the first time, the Arkansas River has been added to the list of waters to be stocked with Florida bass by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC).

"Based on our initial genetic findings, we've decided to stock Pool 2 (Dumas) in 2020, on an experimental basis only," said Jeffrey Buckingham, Black Bass Program biologist for AGFC. "It had the highest amount of Florida bass genes in the population and has a history of producing large bass. It also has more backwater habitat than any of the other pools, other than Lake Dardanelle." 

First, biologists will boat-stock 25,000 fingerlings into the backwaters of this riverine impoundment that covers 10,600 acres and extends upstream for nearly 36 miles and includes two huge off-river oxbows, Coal Pile and Moore Bayou.

"Additionally, we have access to a nursery pond that flushes into the river, so we are going to stock 350,000 fry, if available, into that pond," the biologist added.

When they reach fingerling size, those will be released directly into Pool 2. Buckingham estimated that the pond should yield 100,000 plus fingerlings. He also emphasized that Pool 2 is experimental.

"We want to see if we can significantly start introgressing the genes into the population and see if we can start seeing a shift in size structure indices," he said, adding that Florida bass will be added for at least five years. "We don't have any plans to stock the other pools at this time. We will see how the result of Pool 2 come out in the coming years."