Dec. 11, 2019
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocks hundreds of thousands of pounds of trout and catfish in small ponds throughout the state each year to offer anglers an opportunity to enjoy a day fishing from the bank without driving long distances to wet a line. The following ponds have been added to this growing list of locations and will begin to receive stockings of trout this week:
- Wynne Sports Complex Pond
- Marion Sports Complex Pond
- Torraine Lake in Fort Smith
- Redfield City Park Pond
- Reynolds Park Pond in Paragould
The expansion, the largest since the Family and Community Fishing Program was created in 2005, is the result of increasing efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate anglers in The Natural State.
“(The Family and Community Fishing Program) has always been about introducing new anglers to the outdoors, but we’re always looking to step up our game,” said Maurice Jackson, FCFP coordinator for the AGFC. “One of the best ways to get a new angler hooked is to get them some success quickly, and stocking locations close to where people live with fish large enough to bring home and eat is a great way to break the ice.”
Jackson says the program is changing the way it evaluates possible locations to expand its reach.
“In the past, we looked at cities with at least 25,000 people to be able to support one of our program ponds, but recent studies show most people will drive up to 30 miles to fish at a stocked location,” Jackson said. “Now we are looking at more of a county level to be able to serve those areas where several smaller towns are within a close drive to the trout and catfish we stock.”
The addition of these ponds brings the total number of Family and Community Program locations to 44. Ten of these locations only receive catfish and are only stocked during the warmer months, but the other 34 receive catfish in spring, summer and fall and trout during winter.
“This year we’ll also be continuing our tagged fish promotion during the winter trout fishing season,” Jackson said. “Each of the 34 locations receiving trout will have 10 fish marked with a bright tag behind their dorsal fin. Anyone who catches that fish may clip the tag off and mail it in for a chance to win a guided trout fishing trip on the Little Red River for two people. Keep the fish or release it back to the water if you want, but each tag turned in will be entered into a monthly drawing in January, February and March 2020 for the fishing trip. Three separate trout fishing trips will be provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and Sore Lip ’Em All Guide Service.
Visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing for more information about the Family and Community Fishing Program and find a stocked fishing location near you.