May 9, 2017
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
Maurice Bradford of Hot Springs was fishing from the bank near the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery on Lake Hamilton, looking to land enough fish for a Saturday evening dinner. At around 8 p.m., fishing with crickets, he snagged something better: A $1,000 prize fish in the 2017 $86,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge. It was a half-pound bluegill 8.5 inches long.
The half-pound bluegill was the fifth fish caught thus far in the 2017 Fishing Challenge and the second prize fish taken this year from Lake Hamilton.
Fifty-six prize fish worth a total of $82,500 remain in Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton including the elusive $15,000 Big Al.
Big Al is the name given to a fish, this year a largemouth bass, bearing a lucky $15,000 2017 Fishing Challenge tag. Since the Challenge began in 2012, no one has ever caught Big Al. In 2016 Big Al was worth $10,000.
Big Al’s species was revealed on May 1 and additional clues will be given out during June about Big Al if he has not been caught by then.
“We are continuing our great partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which has worked so well for us for the last five years,” Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said. “The AGFC staff at the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery on Lake Hamilton has been spectacular in selecting, tagging and releasing the prize fish. Jeff Newman is the Hatchery manager.”
The Sixth Annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge will end at 5 p.m. on June 30.
“Hot Springs residents and visitors coming to Hot Springs from throughout the nation have told us this is their favorite time of year,” Arrison said. “Many people have told us they had an exciting time on the lakes trying to land one of the prize fish, even if they haven’t yet hit the cash jackpot.”
The contest is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license. Employees of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at the Andrew H. Hulsey Fish Hatchery, and their immediate family members, and/or those living in the same household of each are ineligible to win a cash prize.
For additional information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.