Over much of the past two years, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have been working together to collect public input on a proposed stocking plan that would enhance the striped bass fishery in Bull Shoals Reservoir along the Arkansas-Missouri border. The proposed stocking plan has been placed on hold.
The proposed striped bass management plan calls for stocking a limited number of striped bass fingerlings in Bull Shoals to improve a quality striped bass fishery and complement the existing game fish population in the lake. The proposed plan calls for stocking 22,000 fingerling striped bass in Bull Shoals every other year as well as aligning white bass, hybrid striped bass and striped bass regulations between Missouri and Arkansas in Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes.
The MDC recently approved regulation changes set to go into effect on March 1, 2013 to better align the fishing regulations between the two states for white bass, hybrid striped bass and striped bass. Both agencies will collect additional fish community information and public input on the proposal.
Striped bass are native to the Atlantic Coast, but have been stocked in numerous lakes around the country, including a select few in Arkansas and Missouri. Because of their size, their fighting qualities and their well-flavored meat, striped bass provide a popular "bonus" fishery where they are introduced.
Bull Shoals, Norfork and Lake of the Ozarks currently comprise the striped bass fishery in Missouri. The current Norfork Lake striped bass population is maintained through annual stockings on the Arkansas portion of the lake by the AGFC. The current Bull Shoals striped bass fishery is the result of an AGFC stocking in 1998. Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri also receives periodic stockings of striped bass using fish raised in Department hatcheries.
The AGFC and MDC will continue to work together to manage border waters like Bull Shoals for the citizens of both states. Future efforts include additional fish community sampling and public outreach efforts to share information and gather public input on the stocking proposal. A final decision on stocking will be a part of these future efforts.