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Florida Freshwater Fish Hatcheries--Stocking Programs

Florida's two freshwater hatcheries stocked over 4 million fish during Fiscal Year 2017-18, which ended June 30, 2018. Stocking summaries from the most recent years are available in the list below. Also check out the interactive stocking map to see which species were stocked near you.

Links below show recent stocking histories and provide articles about hatchery operations.

MAP of Stocking Sites.

 

Species No. Produced
Bluegill fingerlings (Phase I) 633400
Sunshine bass (hybrid) subadults 5100
Redear Sunfish Fingerlings 68668
Florida largemouth bass fingerlings 1231781
Florida largemouth bass subadults (Advanced) 24082
Bluegill subadults (Phase II) 15560
Sunshine bass (hybrid) fingerlings 1062342
Striped bass fingerlings 346804
White Bass Fingerlings 49000
Channel catfish fingerlings 61010
Channel catfish subadults 164767
Black Crappie Fingerlings 49000
Triploid Grass Carp 1145
Threadfin Shad 0
TOTAL TO DATE 4253258

The FWC operates two freshwater fish hatcheries for all of Florida.

The Florida Bass Conservation Center is the larger, more modern facility located on Withlacoochee State Forest, in Sumter County. It has a visitor's observation area with informative displays, conducts research, and produces the majority of freshwater fish that are stocked in public freshwaters throughout the peninsula. They are also equipped to do fish health analyses and to provide samples for genetic analyses.

The Blackwater Hatchery is located in Santa Rosa County and is primarily responsible for bass stockings in the panhandle, and production of striped bass and sunshine bass.

Two recent articles about the 2014 stocking year and hybrid striped bass provide more detailed information.

The hatchery program plays a key role in implementation of the Florida Black Bass Management Plan, especially the Fish Management action steps. The following articles seek to provide insights into hatchery operations:

Primary species stocked:

  • Florida largemouth bass
  • Bluegill
  • Redear sunfish
  • Channel catfish
  • Striped bass
  • Sunshine bass
  • Triploid grass carp

Glossary of terms

YouTube Overview of the FBCC

Feed training is an important new hatchery technique pioneered by FWC biologists for growing bigger largemouth bass for stocking. These larger "Phase-II" bass have fewer predators and can eat a wider range of prey when stocked than standard stocking bass, increasing their survival rate and stocking effectiveness.

Wire tagging of these larger Phase-II largemouth bass is a method of marking largemouth bass for research and fisheries enhancement purposes. You can learn more from the video below.

Wire Tagging Largemouth Bass