East Texas Lake Stocked For Fishermen

Since July, the channel catfish have called a small pond home, but today, 7500 of them made their way to Lake Tyler to finally swim with the big fish.

Mitch Marable is the manager with the city's water department.

He says, "It's good for the lake. It's good for the anglers. It's great for fishing."

The catfish started out as fingerlings, literally, just about the length of your finger. Few catfish that size survive in the open water because East Texas Bass are such fierce predators, but over the past year, the catfish have taken in 1,200 pounds of food, and now they're big enough to make it in the lake.

Richard Ott is the fisheries director with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

He says, "By bypassing that small size with these fish, we're able to stock them at a size where they can escape predation and provide a fishery."

The workers love what they do, and why wouldn't they? It's outdoors, and they get to play around with fish which for many of them brings back childhood memories.

Jeff Bowling has been doing this for years.

He says, "My father ran a fish hatchery when I was a kid for 29 years, so I had the opportunity to do all of this when I was a kid. You know, 5 years old, he threw me in a pond and said, 'Get after it."

The program makes sure there's plenty of catfish in the lake so the younger generation can make fishing memories too.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com