Neosho National Fish Hatchery
Spring 2016 Station Overview
BY BRUCE HALLMAN, NEOSHO NFH
spawning. Credit: Bruce Hallman, USFWS
We had two spawning windows for our endangered pallid sturgeon, which doubled our normal approach to breeding them. Three of our female sturgeon showed signs of early spawning, and we provided all the manpower to harvest eggs back in February from them. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, none released their eggs, and the females were returned to the wild after being implanted with telemetry devices. May spawning efforts produced two batches of male sperm.
We have had two big outreach events this spring, with two more to come in the next few weeks. Our Veterans Fishing Derby in March was attended by about 170 tough souls that braved a cool, but pleasant morning of fishing. Most caught their limit of four rainbows, and everyone had a jolly good time. This was the fifth year we have held this event, and it kicks off our big outreach calendar. Our other annual event, put on in conjunction with the local Dogwood Tour is our Open House, which drew around 500 throughout the day. This occasion is popular because we partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation and they provide a booth with free tree giveaways. They always bring two to three thousand young trees, including flowering dogwoods, and most are gone by the time the day is done.
Our freshwater mussel breeding work continues to move forward, with glochidia being implanted on young largemouth bass this year. The young were removed from the tank after they dropped off and are now tiny but growing in trays alongside the adults. We hope to move on with endangered Neosho mucket mussels soon, but for now we are getting all the kinks out with the more common fatmuckets.
We are gearing up for the second year’s work with the endangered Topeka shiner minnows as well. We had much success last year, our first year with them, and we hope for things to be even better this time around. The adults are all in place and holdovers from last year’s production are in a second raceway with the hopes of doubling production of this rare little fish. Hopefully by the end of June we will see many hundreds of tiny fry from these special fish.
And as always, we work to provide Missouri with about 100,000 pounds of rainbow trout per year. From an economic perspective, this program creates a return on investment of up to 20:1 – just another reason that we are proud to be giving back to our community, state and country in so many various ways.