There are a lot of ponds and lakes around Botetourt and the Fish Wagon out of Arkansas stops by several time per year bringing stocking fish. On Wednesday morning at Southern States in Troutville the truck waited for customers.
Larry Barnhill drives the Fish Wagon to Virginia complete with oxygenated tanks that he travels to various stops along the way.
Larry Barnhill has been driving the Fish Wagon for 14 years. He is an affable man with a shock of white hair. When he leaves to travel to Virginia he is on the road for a week before he gets to go home. Right now there are two Fish Wagons in Virginia selling fish, the other is in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Fish are sold by the hundred and cost anywhere from $45- $90.
So what types of fish does he have on the truck. After a huge climb up into the truck, the Botetourt View discovers numerous tanks that resemble chest freezers with bubbling water. The water is tepid to the touch.
“We haul fish all year except the month of August, it’s just too hot then.” he said. If the temperatures get too hot, they add ice to the water. At night after he stops, he opens the tops of the tanks to let the air and water temperatures meld.
In the tanks, he has Koi for the small pond enthusiast. He has Bream, two types–the hybrids are mostly male and will grow to 4 or 5 pounds and the others are breeding stock for ponds and lakes.
He has two sizes of channel catfish minnows. Catfish are much cuter when they are small. They grow well in ponds and are rather large and can be a good addition to the menu as well!
Right now they are out of large mouth bass but when he returns in June, they will have bass, he explains.
“The algae eaters are popular.” Barnhill said as he scooped up a net full and showed one. Algae eaters will grow very large to a yard long.
He will be back soon. If you want to order fish ahead of time, call 1-800-643-8439.