The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has suspended channel catfish stockings at 30 parks and lakes in the Piedmont Region because of drought conditions and extreme heat. As the weather returns to cooler temperatures, the commission will resume stockings in September.
“The increased heat and lowered oxygen levels in the water makes stocking the fish more difficult, and can increase mortality rates of fish deposited in the lakes and ponds,” said Mark Dutton, sergeant with the law enforcement division of the commission.
The recent period of hotter-than-normal temperatures has impacted the harvesting of fish at the McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery in Hoffman, the facility responsible for stocking channel catfish in the region.
“The recent heat wave has increased morning water temperatures to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just too warm for harvesting and stocking fish,” said Rick Bradford, McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery superintendent. “Harvesting, transporting, and stocking are extremely stressful for fish during hot weather and can lead to delayed mortality.”
Dutton confirmed that this is normal procedure during prolonged periods of hot weather.
Richmond County lakes and parks that won’t receive stockings until September are: Hamlet City Lake Park; Hinson Lake; Indian Camp Lakes; Ellerbe Lion’s Club Community Park; and all gameland ponds.
“There’s no reason not to keep fishing as usual, because the current populations in these stocked lakes and ponds is fine,” said Dutton. “Just abide by the six fish per day limit. Stocking will resume as usual soon.”
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.