Apr 25, 2014 12:15 PM by AP
NEW ROADS, La. (AP) - State fisheries officials rolled into New Roads with some 6,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings, releasing them into False River as part of the effort to return the ailing oxbow lake to its former distinction as a fishing paradise.
Officials say Thursday's bass stocking effort is just one component of a much larger plan to restore False River to what it had been, or at least close to it, during its glory days more than 20 years ago.
"This is what a lot of anglers have been waiting for and we're working for them, so we are at least trying to give them this," Mike Wood, director of Inland Fisheries for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told The Advocate. "We're stocking the lake with Florida-strain bass because they have the genetic potential to be larger-sized fish. I'm not saying they all do, but they possess the genetic potential. And a lot of anglers look for that."
Tommy Bryan was one of 13 fishermen from the local chapter of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society who aided Wildlife and Fisheries in the bass stocking Thursday.
Each fisherman was given up to three bags of bass fingerlings, which were released from boats into various areas of the lake.
"You can't imagine the economic impact this lake will have on the community if the lake gets its quality back," Bryan said. "There used to be dozens of boat launches all over the river. But when the fishing fell off, the boat launches sort of just went away. We only have about three left now."
Bryan said 20 years ago, anglers could catch two to three trophy bass a day in False River. He hasn't seen those kinds of catches in a while.
Of course, anglers will have to wait several years before they'll be able to put the bass fingerlings released Thursday on their dinner tables and trophy mantels.
State law prohibits fishermen from harvesting bass from False River until the fish are at least 14 inches long. The average size of an adult largemouth bass is between 14 to 16 inches long.