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Arkansas Black Friday Trout Bonanza

leah kirk

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Family and Community Fishing Program is kicking off the winter in style, by releasing hundreds of tagged rainbow trout in program ponds throughout the state.

Each year, rainbow trout raised at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs are delivered to community ponds in Arkansas once the water temperatures have cooled enough to accommodate the cold-water fish. According to Maurice Jackson, AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program Coordinator, the fish will be delivered beginning this week, and all program ponds scheduled for trout should have fish swimming in them in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"The trout will survive in the ponds until March, and regular stockings will allow anglers to enjoy these fish throughout the winter," Jackson said. "For many people who cannot afford to drive long distances to fish, this is a great opportunity to learn how fun trout fishing is and how good the fish are to eat."

As an added incentive to get out and fish, the FCFP is placing special tags in many of the trout being stocked throughout the season. If an angler manages to catch one of these special fish, they can send the tag in to the AGFC to collect a special prize package of fishing equipment. All tag winners also will be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of this year's trout season for larger prizes, such as fly rods, fishing attire, and other gear. Of course, the real treat is enjoying the freshly caught fish for supper after enjoying a day by the water.

To redeem prizes and be eligible for the grand prize drawing, anglers who catch a tagged trout should mail the tag, along with a piece of paper including their name, address, telephone number, and where the fish was caught to: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’ Family and Community Fishing Program, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205