NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Parks and Wildlife likes to find good homes for the fish they raise. On a cool January afternoon, 76,000 fingerling blue gill got dropped off at Lake Naconiche in northern Nacogdoches County.
Before diving in, someone has to check out the water. "Right now, I'm checking the oxygen level and the water temp," explained a hatchery employee while monitoring the readings on a hand held gauge. The results are perfect, but more adjustments are needed. The fish come from the Jasper Fish Hatchery. The water there is different from Lake Naconiche. Wildlife specialists pump lake water into the holding wells. The process is called tempering. "We want them to get used to this water before we just dump them out in there or they could go into shock," said another employee.
After that the fish take an amusement park like ride through a hose. It ends with a splash into the biggest fish tank they've ever experienced. Over the course of a year other fish species will join them. "Shad and then after that when they decide it's ready, the catfish, crappie and bass," said George Campbell, who oversees every move at Lake Naconiche.
Now for the question you've been wondering. When can I go fishing? You'll have to wait a while. No fishing is allowed. Sheriff's deputies and game wardens have a heavy patrol on the lake for human violators. There's nothing they can do though about the beaver and eagle spotted in the area. They've been known to like fish too. "Right now the lake is closed and the park area is closed and it probably will be for another year. So it's not opened to the public," said Joe English, Nacogdoches County Judge.