The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Fisheries Division has some summer leftovers that will mean more opportunities for Arkansans to catch catfish.
Game and Fish sets aside 80,000 catchable-size channel catfish to stock during kids' fishing derbies around the state in a typical year, said Tommy Laird, assistant chief in the fisheries division. However, 2020 has been anything but typical.
Many fishing derbies were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and health restrictions issued since March. Laird said this left an excess of table fare-size channel catfish in the Game and Fish hatchery system.
"We stocked about 24,000 to 30,000 catfish back in early June in many ponds around Arkansas," Laird said. "We're going to stock about that same amount in conjunction with National Hunting and Fishing Day this month." National Hunting and Fishing Day, always the fourth Saturday in September, is scheduled for Sept. 26 this year.
"We're going to try to spread them around the whole state, with an emphasis on community ponds. We want to provide as many fishing opportunities as possible for all Arkansas anglers across the state," he said. This stocking is separate from the fish that would be stocked for the Game and Fish family and community fishing program.
Limits for catfish vary from pond to pond. Anglers 16 and older need a fishing license to fish for catfish and should follow the guidelines and limits established for their community pond when fishing.