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      Nature Report: Redfish and Trout Restocking

      More than 300,00 game fish were recently released into the Lower Laguna Madre at Port Mansfield.

      Dr. Scott Walker, Texas Parks and Wildlife Hatcheries Biologist, brought the fingerling redfish and trout from the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi. Dr. Scott Walker, Texas Parks and Wildlife Hatcheries Biologist, "We released about 80,000 trout and about 250,000 red drum." Texas opened its first saltwater hatchery in 1982 and one year later the initial redfish were released into Texas bays.

      There are now three marine hatcheries in the state helping to keep saltwater game fish populations stable for increasing numbers of recreational anglers, and this year more than 15 million redfish and some eight million trout are expected to be released into Texas bays." Dr. Walker, "We have three in Texas. There is the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi, there is the Perry R. Bass facility in Palacios and there is Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson." Of the impressive 23 million trout and redfish that will be released statewide this year, the Lower Laguna Madre is set to receive 1.2 million redfish and two million trout.

      While redfish genetics are almost identical statewide, trout differ slightly from bay to bay and hatcheries take this into account when stocking spotted sea trout.

      Dr. Walker, "All of the trout that we stocked today, their parents came from the Lower Laguna Madre." This is the beginning of the stocking season and Texas Parks and Wildlife personnel will be bringing many more tanks of trout and redfish to release sites throughout the Lower Laguna Madre well into September. While survival rates for trout are not yet determined, some estimates point to a survival rate to adulthood of redfish at slightly more than 10 percent, and that is good news for Lower Laguna Madre anglers. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore