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Toyota ShareLunker Season Payoff Underway
ATHENS—Anglers who catch Toyota ShareLunkers receive a lot of recognition—ShareLunker clothing, press coverage and a fiberglass replica of their catch—but the program is really about what is happening now.
ShareLunker babies are being delivered and stocked into the lakes where their mothers came from as well as other public reservoirs and private lakes that had fish entered into the program.
On Monday about 2,200 fat, healthy ShareLunker fingerlings were stocked into both Caddo Lake and Lake O’ the Pines by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) inland fisheries technicians from the Marshall office.
Fingerlings were also stocked Monday into Lake Livingston and Purtis Creek State Park lake.
The fingerlings were harvested early Monday at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens from the pond where they had been growing for the last month. They were trucked to the lakes, transferred to a tank on a boat, and released into the lakes in places with good places for them to hide and grow.
During the remainder of this week, ShareLunker fingerlings are scheduled to be stocked into Choke Canyon, Amistad, Casa Blanca and Falcon on Tuesday; Lakes Austin and LBJ on Thursday; and Lakes Fork and Nocona on Friday.
The two private lakes that contributed Toyota ShareLunkers are scheduled to receive about 500 fingerlings each next week. Because of O.H. Ivie’s contribution of 11 ShareLunkers during the season, it will receive the most, some 5,000 fish.
A video and photos of Monday’s stockings are at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Others are being used in the Operation World Record (OWR) program.
“Since the ShareLunker program started we have tried to spawn the lunkers before returning them to the lakes,” said TFFC director Allen Forshage.” Many of the offspring have been used as brood fish that have produced fingerlings stocked into public lakes. Today we spawn the fish as part of a selective breeding program, Operation World Record. The OWR fish are being evaluated in public lakes to determine growth over time. We have completed four years of this evaluation. Besides creating a separate brood stock of OWR fish, we also plan to incorporate these fish into the production brood stock at A.E. Wood Hatchery in San Marcos and the new John D. Parker East Texas State Hatchery near Jasper. This will spread the impact of these fish across the entire state, not just the lakes that have produced ShareLunkers.”
Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass and a recap of last year’s season, see http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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