Preparing for Your Fish
Most fish spawn only once a year, and keep in mind that private pond stocking is only one program of the hatchery system. Plans must be formulated before hatchery ponds are filled to determine the most important needs. Fish are distributed as long as the supply lasts. When fish are available (for channel catfish and bluegill approximately September 1 and largemouth bass approximately the following June 1) you will be notified by postcard with the date, time, and location where fish can be picked up. You, a relative, or a friend can pick up the fish as long as the notification card is brought to the pick up point. Fish must be picked up at designated sites on designated days. Failure to pick up the fish as designated on the notification will result in cancellation of the application.
Upon reaching the pickup location, the notification card must be presented to the hatchery personnel. The card will specify the species and number of fish that will be ready. Since largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill are available at different times it will be necessary to make a trip in the fall and the following spring. Notification will be sent each time. To get your fish in the best condition, every effort should be made to pick up the fish on the earliest date specified on the notification card.
All fish for private ponds will be placed in plastic bags filled with water and oxygen. Fish should be taken directly to the pond with no stops en route.
Applicants should bring medium size cardboard boxes for holding plastic bags while the fish are being transported. The number of boxes required will be given on the notification card. The box facilitates handling and helps keeps the plastic bags insulated so that water temperature does not vary. Boxes should be transported in the back seat of a car. If carried in a pickup, some sort of covering should be provided to keep the box out of the sun. The sun's direct rays will quickly penetrate the cardboard box and warm the water inside the plastic bags. This could result in death of the fish.
For further information on managing your farm pond contact one of the hatcheries or Fisheries Division.
NEW PONDS ARE A JOY to anglers and landowners alike. They can provide years of excellent fishing. But, these new ponds do not come equipped with a ready made fish population.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation maintains four warm-water fish hatcheries for use in fisheries management and research. One program of the hatchery system is the stocking of new or reclaimed privately owned farm ponds.