August is National Catfish Month.
Although catfish farming is not yet a major agricultural enterprise
in Oklahoma, Oklahoma catfish certainly have played a major role in
the development of catfish farming in the US. The majority of all the
channel catfish stock farmed in the US originated near the Denison
Dam on Oklahoma's Lake Texoma. These fish were captured in 1949 by
the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in pools formed in the Red River
behind Denison Dam after its construction. The fish were spawned in
the Arkansas state hatchery system and were the basis of broodstock
for some of the earliest catfish farms. These fish were also some of
the founder stocks in federal hatcheries and research institutions
in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where most of the
catfish farming in the US takes place.
Activity: Students pretend they are channel catfish trying to get
home to Lake Texoma from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana or Mississippi.
Students use a map of the US or an atlas to follow the rivers from
a lake in one of those states to Lake Texoma.
Writing Prompt: The majority of all the channel catfish
stock farmed in the US originated near the Denison Dam on Oklahoma's
Lake Texoma in 1949. You are a channel catfish living in Tuscaloosa
Lake in Alabama. Write a tall tale describing how your family got from
Lake Texoma to Lake Tuscaloosa.
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma
Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture,
Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.