We have long had a searchable fish stocking database on our Nebraska Game & Parks Commission webpage. I know this is not news to many of you. That database is one of the most used features on our commission webpage.
Then, why bring it up now?
Well, there have been some changes to better incorporate the stocking database into the rest of our webpages. Searching the database is fairly straightforward and simple. Follow the link above, or below, take a look, give it a try.
Now let me post a disclaimer: That is a searchable database. The search function is very picky about terms. Correct spelling counts!
If you spend some time playing with it, you will notice that you can sort search results. That is a handy feature.
The database does not provide all details. It will show you which species have been stocked in which waterbodies and when. That might help you decide which waters you want to fish. (Although I will tell you that any of our fish sampling data that is available is much more useful, 2024 Fishing Forecast, Fish Sampling Reports).
As a fisheries biologist, let me also say this: It ain’t all about stocking!
Stocking fish is just ONE of the tools used in managing fisheries. It is just one of the ways to produce and maintain good fishing. Stocking fish can be important, but in many cases is is NOT the most important. In my opinion, way too much credit is given to stocking fish and not enough to other management tools like habitat enhancement, renovations, and harvest restrictions. Oh, and never forget “Mother Nature” trumps everything.
Having said that how about some trivial facts from fish stockings made in Nebraska last year. . . ?
We have five state fish hatcheries in Nebraska. Those hatcheries, all of our Fisheries personnel working in those facilities, do a fantastic job producing the fish wanted for stocking in Nebraska’s waters.
We stock waters from one corner of the state to the other. In 2023, 297 different waterbodies were stocked. Twenty-four different species were produced by our state fish hatcheries last year. In total 72 million fish were stocked. If you want to think of all those stocked fish in terms of weight, over 100 tons of fish were produced and stocked. (The weight of 10-inch trout and 8-inch channel catfish adds up really fast. It is a wonder that all of our Fisheries personnel do not have bad backs!)
I just mentioned the catchable-size, 10-inch rainbow trout that we stock in urban and parks waters from one end of the state to the other early each spring and fall. When we are stocking those fish folks often want to know exactly when and where the stocking trucks will arrive. I reply to those inquiries by stating that we have multiple personnel and trucks from more than one hatchery loading, hauling and stocking those fish. If we could specify an exact location and time, all it would take is one flat tire, one breakdown, and that whole schedule would be down the raceway. To illustrate that fact, there were 123 separate days in 2023 when rainbow trout were stocked somewhere in Nebraska! On average, one day out of every three a stocking truck was hauling rainbow trout to some waterbody in the state!
If you are a Nebraska angler, you have benefitted from the work done by our state fish hatcheries, you have caught fish they produced.
Dry the next one off for them!