An Evaluation of Crappie Supplemental Stocking in Arkansas Impoundments

Supplemental stocking of sport fish has been an important management tool used by fisheries management agencies, but published accounts of stocking success are infrequent. Both black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and white crappie (P. annularis) have been stocked throughout the southeastern United States with over one million stocked annually in Arkansas alone. Stocking contribution was determined for six impoundments that ranged in size from 58 to 503 ha. In October 2010 and 2011, crappies were marked with oxytetracycline hydrochloride and stocked at rates that ranged from 53 to 246 fish ha-1. Age-0 crappies were collected using trap nets each month for three months following the 2010 stocking but size selective gear bias precluded accurate short-term contribution estimates. Trap net collections in 2011 and 2012 produced no marked age-1 crappies in any impoundment. Low stocking contribution may be related to a combination of the presence of a strong natural year class, high mortality associated with the stocking process, naivety to predators, or a competitive disadvantage of stocked crappie due, in part, to relatively small size at stocking. Additional evaluation of crappie stocking techniques, fate of stocked crappies, and management strategies for improving crappie year-class strength are warranted.

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