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The concept is relatively simple. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) fisheries biologists have built a climate-controlled building -- called the Bass Propagation Facility -- for the process. Here, they can manipulate water temperature and photoperiod (length of light in a day) in hopes that mature breeding bass will spawn approximately one month earlier than normal. If the parent bass respond as expected, the resulting fry will be reared in raceways to fingerling size by the time wild-hatched bass are still in the fry stage.
The young fingerlings would then be stocked in lakes, where they would feed on zooplankton until young shad are available. This year's planned experimental hatch will be stocked at Hillsdale Reservoir, near Kansas City, and Cedar Bluff Reservoir, west of Hays. If successful, the facility hopes to produce two million fingerlings annually.
"It's still in the experimental stage, but we hope this provides a tool to produce more bass for Kansas anglers," says Doug Nygren, KDWP Fisheries Section chief. "Bigger young-of-the-year bass in the fall would certainly mean more bass surviving the winter, bass that would be excellent sportfish the next season. We'll monitor the situation closely, but we're hopeful."
This is one of the first such projects in the country. A video describing the new facility is available at KDWP TV.
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