Catfish with reward tags stocked in several waters

MAYFLOWER, Ar (AGFC) - Do you need a little boost in income during these difficult economic times? Go catch a catfish.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has launched a statewide channel catfish tagging study to evaluate the effectiveness of stocking these fish in several lakes and streams.

The tags are worth money to anglers who catch the fish. The tags have the word "Reward" printed on them, and anglers who land one of the fish can call a toll-free telephone number, answer a few questions and mail the tag back. They will receive a reward ranging from $10 to $100.

Tagged channel catfish are now in Beaver Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Caddo River, Lake Hinkle, Lake Hogue, Lake Ouachita, Lake Overcup, Little Missouri River and the middle White River.

The tags are yellow or pink and are attached to the dorsal or top fin of the catfish with a thin metal wire. They have been put on channel catfish only, not blue catfish, not flathead catfish, not on bullheads.

Fliers with information on the catfish tagging program and the phone number to call have been posted at boat launching ramps on the lakes and rivers where the tagged fish have been stocked. The phone numbers are AGFC's regional offices.

Jeff Quinn, stream management biologist with AGFC, said, "We have named this program the Arkansas Statewide Catfish Exploitation Study. Its purpose is to see the number of catfish caught by anglers from our stockings at in these waters. The AGFC spends a large amount of money in its annual stocking of catfish, and we need solid evidence on how effective these stockings are. In other words, are we getting enough 'bang for our buck' in each of the bodies of water."

Anglers reporting catching a tagged channel catfish will be asked their name, address, tag number, location of catch, date of catch, if the catfish was kept or released, if the angler was targeting catfish and method of fishing.  The tags then must be mailed in for anglers to receive the reward payment. All anglers will be asked if they were satisfied with their trip.