PYATT — Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists are collecting and tagging smallmouth bass for angler-based research on Crooked Creek near Yellville. Dozens of smallmouth in this blue-ribbon fishery will sport yellow and red tags inserted alongside the dorsal fin worth a monetary reward.
“Anglers catching a tagged fish can clip the tag off close to the skin and turn it in for a cash prize,” said Paul Port, fisheries management biologist at the AGFC Mountain Home office. “They can keep the fish if it is of legal size, or release it and simply keep the tag.”
Anglers can call the number on the tag (877-425-7577) to report the catch and get instructions on where to mail the tag to redeem their prize. They should be prepared to report the tag number, the date and time of the catch, the catch location, the fish’s length and whether it was kept or released. Anglers can mail or bring tags in person to the AGFC Mountain Home Regional Office at 201 East 5th Street, Mountain Home, AR 72653.
“This information is vital for our research, as we are trying to assess the true harvest rate of anglers on smallmouth in this stream,” Port said. “Some tagged fish promotions by cities or communities like the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge are used to increase angler interest, but nearly all of the tagged fish programs conducted by the AGFC’s fisheries team are rooted in research and only use the tag reward as an incentive for public participation and response.”