Starting in February, the two southernmost ponds on the Berksdale Golf Course were drained and the existing fish were removed to initiate an experimental aquaculture program to benefit the Bella Vista Lakes. Right away some encouraging things were noted. Black crappie, brook silversides, and a lone smallmouth bass were noted. These fish are among the less tolerant species to poor water conditions, so there presence was a good indicator that the program can succeed. Additionally, largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, gizzard shad, common carp, grass carp, and a few bullheads were present. The number of fish and their overall biomass indicates that the ponds are highly fertile and capable of producing well for us. Water depth was perfect and there are few snags to cause problems with future fish harvest.
Initially, walleye were considered for this trial endeavor, but locating a good source for fry on short notice has been an issue. At this point the walleye project will need to be deferred to next year. Focus has recently changed from walleye to black crappie. Twenty adults have thus far been collected from our lakes to be used as brood stock in the golf ponds. Approximately 20 more will be collected in subsequent days. These fish will be allowed to spawn at will in the golf ponds and will be harvested in October.
– Rick Echols