Something Fishy About Paragould

May 16, 2007 - Posted at 4:15 p.m. CST

Paragould, AR -- One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish... no you won't find any of those out at coldstream fisheries, but you will find some goldfish, some catfish, and maybe a few minnows.

One of the largest minnow producers in the united states is found right here in Region Eight... in Greene county.

They grow about 8 to 900,000 pounds of bait a year. Which is about 150 million fish! And owner Joey Pillow says it takes a hard working crew to get *that many fish *in... and out...

"We have 25 to 35 employees...we have a sainin crew a maintenance crew, a shed crew, and those crews are up working by six a.m. and it's not an easy job...most of them are young and thin, it's a lot of intense labor..."

Coldstream Fisheries is made up of 2500 acres... all ponds...growing minnows, goldfish, and catfish. And it's a long process...

"In the spring time of the year we'll get our eggs out of the brew ponds, take 'em over here to our hatchery. They're on little synthetic mats. After four or five days in our hatchery they'll hatch out and we'll take 'em back to the ponds. They stay there until they're just about big enough to sell and eat. Then we'll bring 'em into our shed, we'll sain 'em and bring 'em into our shed and get 'em ready to go out."

Then the trucks line up and load up. Some going all the way to Boston.

"The jobbers come in and get the fish and then they take it and sell it to the bait shops or wherever and that's where the fisherman get their fish."

Pillow started at coldwater fisheries in 1978 and says he's been around a fish or two in his day.

"All my life, all my life. Even before I was working on a fish farm, my daddy was working on a fish farm. It's all I know. I don't know much about fishing but I sure hope I know a thing or two about raising 'em. I'll leave the fishing up to someone else."

Pillow says he's lived here his whole life... his family, the fish farm... everything just fits.

"I'd keep it right here in this county. Because of the good water supply and the flat ground... I just don't think it would fit anywhere else."