DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BUCHANAN DAM — Over the years, Lake Buchanan earned a reputation as a top spot for hybrid striped bass fishing. But fans of the fish feared that, without additional stocking efforts beyond what the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does, the population would slip below strong angling levels.
But thanks to the efforts of a local conservation group, the hybrid striped bass looks to enjoy a good future in the most northern of the Highland Lakes.
“We have been stocking every year since 2006,” said Butch Whitworth of the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corp. “Last year, we stocked 33,500 fingerlings and one million fry. This year, we’re doing about the same.”
Fry refers to recently hatched fish, while a fingerling has reached the stage when fins are extending and scales are developing. Typically, the more mature stock is about the size of a finger, hence, fingerling.
Hybrid striped bass don’t reproduce naturally, so it requires restocking efforts to keep the fish population healthy. A hybrid striped bass occurs when fishery officials artificially spawn a white bass with a female striped bass.
The hybrid’s growth rate and aggressive feeding habits make it a popular game fish.
The LBCC released its most recent hybrid fry June 5 at two locations on Lake Buchanan: one on the south side and one on the north side.
Whitworth said, later this summer, the group plans on releasing about 33,000 more fingerlings.
While stocking fish is a big part of the LBCC’s efforts, it’s only one of many focusing on Lake Buchanan and the surrounding area.
“We do a lot to improve the lake and make it more accessible for people,” Whitworth said. “We’ve extended boat ramps. We’ve even actually put a boat ramp in. We try to make the lake better for everybody.”
Other things include building and donating picnic tables for local parks, setting up fish-identification signs, improving fish habitat by sinking brush, helping get youth interested in fishing and the outdoors and sponsoring activities that attract people to the lake.
“And we do fundraising throughout the year,” Whitworth said.
The organization holds monthly meetings the third Tuesday of each month starting at 7 p.m. The next one is June 17. The meetings are held at the Hill Country Hall, 15675 Texas 29 in Buchanan Dam. They are open to the public.
The meeting topics often relate to lake, habitat and water issues, but the topics sometimes cover other areas of interest. For instance, a recent meeting featured the Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force.
Go to www.lakebuchanancc.org for more information.