The pandemic delayed the annual late spring and early summer catfish tagging promotion, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Family and Community Fishing Program project is started as fall arrives.
Tagged catfish have been stocked in the nearly 50 community ponds around Arkansas. Each pond has 10 catfish with fluorescent green tags. Anyone catching a tagged fish should call the phone number on the tag for information on where to mail the tag, along with their personal information.
Meanwhile, they should keep their catfish for dinner.
“These fish are ready for the grill and the frying pan, whichever you choose,” said Maurice Jackson, the coordinator of the Family and Community Fishing Program.
Regional waterways in the program include Lake Springdale and Murphy Park Lake in Springdale, Lake Atalanta in Rogers and Carol Ann Cross Pond, Torraine Lake and Wells Lake, all in Fort Smith
Tags must be sent in by Oct. 31 to be eligible for a prize. On Nov. 5, a drawing will be held on Facebook Live at 10 a.m. on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Facebook page. Three people will be chosen among all the tags returned for the grand prizes: one half-day guided fishing trip on Beaver Lake with JT Crappie Guide Services. The prizes are courtesy of the guide company, which specializes in crappie, bluegill, white bass and black bass fishing. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Foundation provides support for the grand prizes.
Jackson adds all anglers returning the tags will receive a prize of fishing tackle.
“We did not tag our catfish like we normally do in May because of the pandemic,” Jackson said. “We didn’t know how that was going to go. So we postponed the tagging until the now. We normally stock our program ponds with catfish now anyway, this being the usual last month for catfish stocking. The added bonus will be the tagged fish.”
The program added nine ponds in the past year, bringing the total fishing locales to 47, Jackson said. All ponds in the program will get 50% more catfish than their usual September stocking thanks to thousands of surplus catfish made available by Game and Fish hatcheries.