Watermelon Pond stocked with forage fish; preparing for bass stocking in 2015
Friday, June 27, 2014
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
Watermelon Pond was recently stocked with 300 forage fish to help “jump start” the fish community needed to naturally support a high-quality Florida largemouth bass fishery.
According to freshwater fish biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Watermelon Pond dries up during periods of drought but it has partially refilled with all the rains north Florida has been receiving.
“When Watermelon Pond held water for an extended period of time in the past, it had a high-quality Florida largemouth bass fishery known for producing trophy-sized Florida largemouth bass for anglers,” said Kevin Johnson, with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
Approximately 300 freshwater forage fish (including bluegill, golden shiners and lake chubsuckers) were collected from Rodman Reservoir with electrofishing boats for stocking into Watermelon Pond on June 10. Fish were transported with a 400-gallon hauling tank trailer used by the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.
“These forage fish are expected to reproduce and expand their populations within Watermelon Pond,” Johnson said. “These stocked forage fish are some of the preferred prey of Florida largemouth bass.”
The FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management plans to stock Florida largemouth bass into Watermelon Pond in early 2015 with bass from its Florida Bass Conservation Center hatchery, located in Richloam.
“We are proud of the collaboration between the FWC and stakeholders concerned about restoring a largemouth bass fishery at Watermelon Pond,” Johnson said.