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Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 10:11am

Luminant provides research lake, breeding the biggest bass

Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 12:28am

Luminant won top national and state awards for its mine reclamation program.

The transformation of the company's Big Brown Mine in Freestone County has gained a lot of attention, particularly with those who like to "wet a hook."

Researchers with Texas Parks and Wildlife have been studying the area for more than five years.

They are looking for ways to create the biggest and best fish, and one day, give state anglers something more to reel in.

It's become a test tube for the TPWD, 122 acres of lake water, which once was a Luminant mine.

"It gives us the opportunity to look at these under a little bit more natural conditions but it's totally controlled conditions," said TPWD biologist Richard Ott.

The area is closed to the public, so researchers such as Ott can study the breeding habits of Texas bass.

"We can take the fish that are genetically the very best ones that we can produce within our hatchery system, stock them in a controlled situation and then manipulate both the habitat.  The food source and the harvest of these fish to allow them to grow to their ultimate growth potential."

Under most mine reclamation programs, the mine is filled in and seeded with desirable plants and brought back to terrestrial conditions, making the operation in Freestone County unique.

"In this case they created for us an aquatic environment that we can use as a test vessel," said Ott.

Fish are currently being tagged with fin clips which help assess the genetics of the fish in the research lake, and hopefully, down the road, these fish, which are the best of the best, will find their way into a waterway near East Texans.

"We can use that same information in our regular production fish in the hatchery, release these in the water bodies that people have access to and that they've got the chance to catch these much, much larger fish," said Ott.

Luminant has been honored with this national award twice since 1997, and has received multiple honorable mentions since 1989.

Ott says they are hoping the research being done in Fairfield, will result in a record breaking catch down the line.

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