The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently released about 9,200 fingerling white bass into St. Paul’s Lake Phalen in hopes they will grow to catchable size and help establish a naturally reproducing population.
While white bass are looked down on by some Minnesota anglers, many people of southeast Asian heritage consider them a tasty treat that resembles a white fish found in northern Laos.
White bass are native to Minnesota waters, but they’re mostly found in rivers, where contaminant levels tend to run higher and shore-fishing opportunities are limited.
The DNR started stocking fingerling white bass into Lake Phalen in 2016 in response to interest from the
Capitol Sportsmen’s chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association – a mostly southeast Asian group. Lake Phalen was chosen because it’s part of a chain of six lakes with varying water depths, all located in a regional a park with three fishing piers as well as other shore-fishing opportunities, boat access, ample parking and other amenities. And the flow of water between the lakes should provide good spawning conditions for natural reproduction.
“This got started because a major stakeholder in the metro region wanted more opportunities to catch fish similar to ones they found in the old country,” said DNR’s east metro fisheries supervisor T.J. DeBates. “We’ve heard a few folks report that they’ve actually been catching some adult fish from some of our earlier stockings last year and the year before, so hopefully the fishery is getting established.”
Regularly scheduled fisheries surveys will help to determine how well the effort is working, and whether future stockings may be justified.
Photos courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.