Posted on Thursday Sep 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM
The US Fish and WIldlife Service stocked Kaw Lake with Paddlefish back in the 1990s in an attempt to re-establish the natural population that existed before the Dam was constructed in 1977. Once the dam at Kaw was operational, paddlefish in the Arkansas River could not travel past it. The groceries in Kaw Lake have produced some gigantic paddlefish and we have actually documented natural reproduction in the lake. I am not aware of any sampling from the USFW staff to determine the abundance in the lake, but I would guess it to be low to moderate. Last month an angler found a 70+ pounder floating mid-lake.
The ODWC has stocked millions of striped bass into Kaw Lake over the years without establishing a fishery. Occassionally, the low population of adults will have a successful spawn as Kurt spoke of, however, even those have not survived in large enogh numbers to create a fishery. This has kept me up late at night!!! There is nothing that I would like more than to establish a morone fishery in Kaw Lake. There is no doubt that it would rival the fishery at Texoma in my opinion, but there seems to be a brick wall that prevents this from happening. I don't know the answer for sure, but I am guessing that it is a recruitment problem, which means that striped bass fingerlings do not survive the first winter. The fingerlings that I have seen in the fall going into the winter are in very poor body condition, and will probably not make it through the winter. During our research with hybrids, we seine the reservoir and have noticed that the white bass are much healthier than other moronies. The are spawned earlier than the stocked fish are placed in the lake, thus, they have a head start, grow faster and dominate the other moronie species. The good news is that the hybrid stockings have done better than the striped bass! So hopefully in the near future, we can establish a hybrid fishery in Kaw! Growth rates will produce some MONSTERS! And THAT excites this old guy! We are learning more about the tagged hybrids and striped bass adults every time we make our detection trips, so stay tuned for the Results Show comming early next year!