State wildlife officials are trying to give bass fishing at Lake Eufaula a shot in the arm.
On Thursday, 350 adult Florida largemouth bass were released into the lake. Largemouth bass with the Florida genetics grow larger and faster than northern bass.
Many of the double-digit bass caught now in Oklahoma’s trophy bass lakes are pure Floridas or have Florida genes.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation raises Florida bass at its fish hatchery near Durant. Each year, Florida fingerlings are stocked in Oklahoma lakes, where they thrive the best and state wildlife officials believe they can do the most good genetically.
Most of those lakes are in the southern half of the state, and Lake Eufaula normally is not one of them.
But this year, the fish hatchery had more broodstock than it needed, so for the first time the Wildlife Department stocked some Florida bass weighing from 1 to 3 pounds.
Lake Eufaula, known as the Gentle Giant, is a lower priority for Florida fingerlings because of its sheer size. But fishery biologists believe the larger Florida bass have a better chance of surviving in Lake Eufaula because they have already been through a tough winter in the hatchery.
The hope is that the Florida bass will grow and contribute toward trophy bass production in Lake Eufaula like they have in other lakes.