Catfish with this tag may make the fisherman eligible for a prize.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program’s annual late spring and early summer catfish tagging promotion, but the project is getting a reprieve as fall arrives.

Tagged catfish will be stocked in the nearly 50 FCFP’s community ponds around Arkansas in the coming days, just in time for both Arkansas Hunting and Fishing Week, proclaimed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson for the week of September 19-26, and National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 26.

Each pond will have 10 tagged catfish with fluorescent green tags. Anyone catching a tagged fish should call the phone number on the tag for information where to mail in the tag, along with their personal information. Meanwhile, they should keep the tablefare-size catfish for dinner.

South Arkansas ponds that will receive tagged fish include:

El Dorado – Mattocks Park Pond.

Hope – Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth and Senior Pond.

Lake Village – Lake Village Community Pond.

Monticello – Monticello High School Pond.

TexARKana – Lake Dieffenbacher.

The promotion begins September 15, and tags must be sent in with a postmark of no later than October. 31 to be eligible for a prize. On November 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: a half-day guided fishing trip on Beaver Lake with JT Crappie Guide Services. The three prizes are courtesy of the guide company, which specializes in crappie, bluegill, white bass and black bass fishing, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation.

All FCFP ponds also will be getting 50 percent more catfish than their usual September stocking thanks to thousands of “leftover” catfish made available by the AGFC hatcheries.

In the event that anglers who catch the tagged catfish cannot reach the number listed, the tags should be mailed to: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Family and Community Fishing Program, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205.

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