This time of year the biologists at the North Platte State Fish Hatchery are busy netting fish from area reservoirs to collect eggs and milt that will in turn make more fish that will be stocked back into Nebraska waters.
Most people don’t realize that many of the fish in Nebraska waters are fish that are grown at a state fish hatchery. Some species of fish will reproduce naturally and others need a population boost from time-to-time while other species do not reproduce in some existing bodies of water. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologists at the North Platte hatchery have had a busy spring as they collect walleye, northern pike, sauger and other species to be raised at the hatchery.
Eggs and milt are expelled from female and male fish, combined together and placed in glass jars at the hatchery where they are monitored daily by staff as they develop. The eggs will hatch around 14 days later, depending on fish species. The very tiny fish are called fry. Some of the fry are stocked into lakes where the smaller the fish, the better the chance of their survival is. Other fish are held in tanks inside the hatchery where they grow to fingerlings, which is about an inch-and-a-half to two inches long before they are released into Nebraska waters. Some of the fish raised will grow to larger sizes at the hatchery and will be released in the fall or a later date until they have reached a desired length.
Right now the North Platte hatchery has over 16-million walleye and saugeye eggs in jars of circulating water that will soon hatch and will be ready to stock. Harlan Reservoir, Lake Minatare, Enders and Lake McConaughy will receive a large portion of the walleye. Some reservoirs are stocked with four-day-old fry and others will receive fingerlings; biologists determine which bodies of water have the best success and survival rates of stocking fry vs. fingerlings. Other walleye fingerlings produced at the hatchery will go to the area reservoirs including: Lake Maloney, Sutherland, Jeffrey Lake and Red Willow, to name a few.
Other fish that are hatchery-raised are channel catfish, blue catfish, muskellunge, white bass, wipers, bluegill hybrids, and yellow perch.
Anglers across the state will enjoy fishing at a variety of stocked reservoirs, city lakes, Interstate 80 lakes and other bodies of water for years to come thanks to the fisheries biologists that spend countless hours netting, raising, studying and stocking fish. Next time you catch a fish, chances are you have a fisheries biologist to thank. Fishing is time well spent outside by many anglers young and old.
The Commission’s fisheries division establishes fish stockings for each public waterbody across the state, to view the stocking reports visit outdoornebraska.gov/fishsamplingreports. The reports show what fish and fish sizes are in each lake along with water levels and the fishing outlook.
The 49th annual Cornhusker Trapshoot is coming to Doniphan May 4-6. The event is the largest of its kind in the nation with over 2,500 youth trap shooters expected this year.
During this event the small town of Doniphan — population 843, grows to approximately 10,000 as youth trap shooters, their coaches, families and friends visit the Nebraska Trapshooting Association’s home grounds for what is arguably the youth shooting sports greatest show on earth. The participants at this event are some of the finest young people in Nebraska and surrounding states. Their safety record is exemplary and the sportsmanship they exhibit is to be commended and admired by all.
The North Platte junior and senior high school trap teams will be attending the event. These kids have done a great job shooting again this year and have high hopes for success at the Cornhusker Trapshoot.
Along with the North Platte teams, other area teams have been practicing for the big event and will be competing in Doniphan. Teams from Gothenburg, Maxwell and Ogallala will all be present.
Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo
The 12th annual Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 12 at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area.
The annual Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo showcases the state’s vast number of fun outdoor activities at beautiful Fort Kearny State Recreational Area. This event is designed to meet the needs of anyone interested in an outdoor lifestyle, regardless of age or experience.
Don’t miss the many demonstrations including World Champion Timber Tina’s Lumberjills all-woman’s logging sport entertainers. They will throwing axes, log rolling, underhand chopping, cross-cut sawing and how sawing.
Traverse the ropes course, where you can push your limits across a ropes course. All ages will enjoy the experience.
Experts will fillet fish caught during the expo. Take home the filleted fish or have it prepared right at the event for taste testing. Other fun activities include: outdoor cooking and homemade camping games, 1900s era re-enactors, the climbing wall, fishing, archery and shooting sports, see, touch and learn about Nebraska fish and wildlife species from wildlife biologists and much, much more.
Mark your calendar and get ready to kick this spring off with some fun outdoor activities or learning about new ones at some of these events.