Toyota ShareLunker 531, caught from Falcon International Reservoir March 16, spawned more than 44,000 eggs March 29.
Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) hatchery staff removed the eggs from the spawning mat, counted them and put them into a hatching jar. The eggs will hatch in three or four days, and the fry will be raised to about 1.5 inches in length before being stocked.
A video of the processing of ShareLunker 531′s eggs may be viewed on the ShareLunker program Facebook page.
ShareLunker 531 was caught by Gary Wingate of Amarillo and is the first ShareLunker to spawn this season. Multiple spawns from the same fish are not uncommon. Six of the current entries are pure Florida largemouth bass and are being held for spawning. Those fish came from Lakes Falcon, Austin (two fish), Fork, Ray Roberts and O.H. Ivie.
So far this season 12 ShareLunkers have been caught from six different lakes: Falcon, Austin, Fork, Toledo Bend, Ray Roberts and O.H. Ivie. Each lake producing an entry into the ShareLunker program during the season receives a portion of all the fingerlings produced.
Pure Florida ShareLunkers are paired at TFFC with pure Florida males that are themselves the offspring of ShareLunkers. This selective breeding process is intended to result in offspring that have the best possible genetics. Appropriate measures are taken to ensure that genetic diversity is maintained.
DNA testing allows Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to determine the parentage of and relatedness among ShareLunker offspring.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.