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Published on: Oct. 18, 2010

11-2010 Conservationist 45

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high-quality fisheries for species such as paddlefish where natural reproduction and recruitment is limited and to aid in the restoration of rare, threatened and endangered species.


During the 1960s and ‘70s, Department hatcheries developed techniques that resulted in the first significant hatchery production of paddlefish, Polyodon spathula. These efforts were driven by the loss of natural spawning areas in Missouri. The successful introduction of hatchery-produced paddlefish into Table Rock Lake and the Osage River system helped to establish and maintain popular paddlefish fisheries and were followed by stocking in the Black River below Clearwater Lake.

Today, Department hatcheries are among the world’s largest producers of paddlefish. Eggs and sperm from wild-caught fish are used to produce fry and fingerling fish in the spring. The resulting fish are typically 10 to 13 inches long and are ready for stocking by early fall.

More than 260,000 paddlefish were produced by Department hatcheries in 2008. These stockings are maintaining excellent fishing for one of the largest, most ancient and unique of all freshwater fish, and each spring anglers come from across the country to catch paddlefish that can weigh in at more than 150 pounds.


Cold-water hatcheries at Bennett Spring near Lebanon; Maramec Spring near St. James; Montauk near Licking; Roaring River near Cassville; and Shepherd of the Hills near Branson produce 10- to 12-inch rainbow and brown trout. The majority of the fish produced in these facilities are used to support popular fisheries in the four trout parks and Lake Taneycomo. Additional trout are stocked less frequently and in smaller numbers to provide enhanced fishing opportunities in several spring-fed streams across southern Missouri. Trout are also stocked in select small impoundments in major population centers to provide close-to-home fishing opportunities during the winter.

1,000 Days of Care

by James Civiello

In October 2007, I received a call from our state herpetologist, Jeff Briggler, who found a fertilized clutch of hellbender eggs in one of our Ozark streams. There were more than 400 developing embryos in this clutch. I was concerned about how to care for the eggs. There were very few references for the questions I had about how to incubate, hatch and raise hellbenders. I decided that because hellbenders (the largest amphibian in North America) behave much like a fish in terms of habitat requirements and external fertilization of the eggs, I would care for the eggs exactly as

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