TYLER, TX (KLTV) - There are 115,000 new residents living in Lake Tyler today. They're Florida Largemouth Bass Fingerlings that were raised at a hatchery in Athens.
They were released into East Lake Tyler where Old Omen Road dead ends into the water around 11 a.m. The lake is restocked annually by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
"What we're trying to do is produce the trophy fish that the Texas anglers really find the most desirable," said Richard Ott, Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Leader. "We know those fingerlings aren't all going to survive. The lake couldn't support that many, but we know enough of them will survive to give us the chance of producing the truly trophy size fish that the anglers want."
They're only about 2-3 inches long right now, but Dan Bennett with Texas Parks and Wildlife said they'll grow.
"Hopefully in the next two or three years they'll be a harvestable size or a size that anglers are really going to want to come out and try and pursue," he said.
Bennett said the fingerlings are intended to breed with the native bass already living in the lake. He said introducing Florida genetics helps produce larger fish.
"We really try to work with the city and property owners and anglers to better manage that to where everyone is really content and happy with the fishing out here on the lake," Bennett said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife said they release the finglerlings in areas with vegetation so they'll have a place to hide from predators.
Lisa Griggs, Fish and Wildlife Technician with the Texas Freshwater Fishery Center in Athens, said fish in the lake are restocked regularly.
"If we did not keep stocking the fish into the lake then there wouldn't be any fish for the citizens to fish with so we continually stock the lake with fish that the public has requested that they want," Griggs said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife said they have been restocking Lake Tyler with Florida Largemouth Bass fingerlings for years. They said the largest bass caught on Lake Tyler to date is 12.75 pounds.