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ANGLING NEWS

HATS OFF TO THE HATCHERIES

My favorite fishing hole...Toledo Bend...is without a doubt a more exciting place to fish because of the excellent stocking programs of both the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries. I was fortunate enough a couple of weeks ago to stumble across a Texas Parks and Wildlife stocking crew from Jasper, TX as they were placing a truckload of Florida Largemouth bass fry in south Toledo. I got to witness the process first-hand as thousands of potential lunkers were transferred from the transport truck to the stocking boat. The crew handled the precious cargo with extreme care yet wasted no time with the transfer from truck to boat. The boat was equipped with a large holding tank and heavy duty aerators to keep the small fish healthy until they were deposited into their new home.....my back yard.....south Toledo.

The TPW officials said that they were stocking 129,000 with that particular load and that they had already deposited 500,000 Florida largemouth fry in other parts of the lake on previous trips this year. They also stated that they normally placed approximately 10,000 fry in one area before moving into another area. I received such a rush of excitement as I witnessed this process. If this angler is blessed with some more days upon God's beautiful earth, I will, more than likely, be able to catch some of those very bass that I witnessed being stocked. Guess What? You will too! That's the beauty of these programs. They greatly enhance the chances of an angler catching a monster bass.

In Louisiana, the LDWF officials are doing the same thing as they have stocked 500,000 Florida Largemouth in 2003. Some more exciting data.....in the past ten years over 10,000,000 (ten million) FL Largemouth Bass have been placed in Toledo Bend by TPW, LDWF and private organizations. Hold my mule...I think I'm gonna shout!

So it is by no accident that more and more anglers are catching bigger bass and doing so more frequently. Can I get a witness? I'll volunteer. I have already had the best year of my angling career as far as big bass are concerned. Since March 20th I have been fortunate enough to catch three beautiful Toledo lunkers....9 LB 2 oz., 9 LB 6 oz and 10 LB 5 oz. The list could have been even longer except for the limited angling skills of my wife's husband. No one can say for sure, but in my mind all three of these bass are a direct result of the aggressive Florida Largemouth stocking programs that have been in place for several years at Toledo Bend. Similar efforts have also been directed at Lake Sam Rayburn. There are many positive results from this program as these big fish not only help those of us who guide on Toledo/Rayburn, they also help lake area businesses, real-estate sales/property taxes, makes these lakes more attractive for large tournament organizations...to name a few. So I say 'hats off' to all of the men and women in our fish and wildlife agencies who make this happen. We really appreciate your efforts.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo. His sponsors include Lake Area Marine in Lake Charles, Skeeter/Yamaha, Pure Fishing, Stanley Jigs Inc., TTI Industries and ReAction Lures.

Reach him at 337-463-3848, 409-565-1288 or jsoutdrs@wnonline.net.

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