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Officials Discuss Impact of Dundee Fish Hatchery Temporary Closure

<font size=2> <P>Eager anglers, hoping for that big catch and waiting on both the weather and Texas Parks and Wildlife officials to see if the Dundee Fish Hatchery will shut down next month.</P> <P>Dundee Fish Hatchery is the largest fresh water fish hatchery in the state.</P> <P>Earlier Friday, Mechell Dixon spoke with hatchery managers to find out about the impact of being out of action temporarily.</P></font>

Managers tell me if Dundee Fish Hatchery has to temporarily shut down the impact will not be as bad as you might think.

When employees from Dundee Fish Hatchery make their rounds around Texoma anglers become ecstatic.

Restocking state lakes is what the hatchery has done for more than 80 years ago.

But now, the facility is preparing to temporarily shut down because the drought is draining Lake Kemp, where the hatchery ultimately gets its water.

"Based on the level at Kemp now, we can't fill our ponds, stock fry into those and then reach a point where we don't have water to harvest those ponds. So as things stand now, we will not be in production this spring," says Dundee Fish Hatchery Manager Dennis Smith.

But managers say closing the hatchery will not leave area lakes empty.

"Most of the sites that have a request for catfish will continue to receive those fish. Our guys will continue to make deliveries," says Smith.

However, Smith says the biggest impact will be with the production of two types of bass.

"Stripers and hybrids are very high priority for us because they won't reproduce in most of the lakes in Texas on their own, so if we don't stock them they won't be there," says Smith.

According to Smith, it will take years for area lakes to run out of the striped and hybrid bass produced at this hatchery.

But he and state parks and wildlife officials expect heavy rain showers to save the day by then.

State parks and wildlife officials have not officially decided to suspend operations at Dundee just yet.

They're hoping a substantial amount of rain will fall by March 26th, which is the day the hatchery's 97 ponds are slated to be filled so the spring harvesting of fish can begin.

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