Florida Freshwater Fish Hatcheries--Stocking Programs
Florida's two freshwater hatcheries stocked over 5 million fish during Fiscal Year 2015-16, which ended June 30, 2016. 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.
|Bluegill fingerlings (Phase I)||611513|
|Sunshine bass (hybrid) subadults||4000|
|Redear Sunfish Fingerlings||67826|
|Florida largemouth bass fingerlings||1370451|
|Florida largemouth bass subadults (Advanced)||20070|
|Bluegill subadults (Phase II)||3219|
|Sunshine bass (hybrid) fingerlings||1938156|
|Striped bass fingerlings||171750|
|White Bass Fingerlings||61400|
|Channel catfish fingerlings||440743|
|Channel catfish subadults||314200|
|Black Crappie Fingerlings||186680|
|Triploid Grass Carp||2164|
|TOTAL TO DATE||5206372|
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:
- How are lakes selected for stocking
- History of Florida hatcheries
- Typical annual production schedule
- Commercial Sources of Fish
Primary species stocked:
- Florida largemouth bass
- Redear sunfish
- Channel catfish
- Striped bass
- Sunshine bass
- Triploid grass carp
Glossary of terms
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.