Broodstock Reloaded for ‘23

FWCO staff while electrofishing on the WI River. Photo: name/USFWS.

The week of 9/12 I was able to get out with the help of La Crosse FWCO staff to help replenish our
broodstock numbers. Periodically adding new broodstock to the mix helps on a couple of different
fronts. One, it helps to maintain our ideal numbers, as some are lost every year to fish health testing,
natural mortality and predation. Secondly, it infuses new genetics into our population, ultimately
diversifying the genetics of the waterbodies we stock as well. The targets this year were Smallmouth
Bass and Black Crappie. When choosing a source, we need to find fish that are healthy and disease
free. That typically leads us to somewhat isolated water bodies. This year, we decided to try Lake
Neshonoc as a source for Black Crappie. The Wisconsin River near the Wisconsin Dells has treated
the hatchery well in the past for Smallmouth Bass broodstock, so we went back to that well. We
collected enough of each species to send some to the La Crosse Fish Health Center and we will be
holding some in quarantine until results of the fish health sample are available. Once the fish are
cleared, they can go into our general population for the winter. Next summer, there will be a few more
“fish in the sea” for our current broodstock to mingle with!
By: Nick Bloomfield