Ever been tempted to improve the
fishing at your local lake by transporting a bucket of fish from a different
lake? Maybe you think a grass carp or two, or a few northern pike, might
"fix" the lake?
Although well-meaning anglers assume
they're helping the resource with their Johnny Appleseed fish-stocking approach,
Illinois law prohibits such releases because of scientific reasons.
Experts maintain the dynamics of a
fishery can be ruined by the introduction of unauthorized fish. For instance,
anglers who dump seemingly desirable crappie into a small lake or pond might
unwittingly trigger a serious population imbalance. Crappie compete for spawning
grounds and resources with large mouth bass, especially in small lakes.
Crappie also prey on young bass. Since bass are a primary bluegill predator, a lack of
bass can result in large populations of stunted bluegill
as bluegill populations
Worse yet, there's also the risk
anglers might toss in a species that poses ecological risk, such as diseased
fish or exotic species that compete with resident fish or upset the ecological
balance of the lake.
Illinois law prohibits anyone, other
than authorized individuals, from removing and transporting live fish from one
public lake to another. As an exception, fish that were legally caught in public
waters can be released into waters entirely contained on private property, such
as your own farm pond. Yet biologists indicate that kind of stocking approach
rarely succeeds unless the appropriate mix of species are introduced.
Home-stocking ventures are far more successful when fish are obtained from a
licensed fish farm or through DNR's Division of Fisheries. Even then, only
approved species may be stocked.
For more information about fish stocking, contact your local DNR district fisheries biologist or call (217) 782-6424.
MidWest Outdoors Illinois Section May 2003 Page 100