Game and Fish stocks 6,000 jumbo channel catfish

CHEYENNE - Grab your rod, choose a bait and head to the water. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently stocked 6,000 channel catfish into 19 community fishing ponds statewide. The fish are considered “jumbo-sized” at 13-14 inches and make great table fare.

The catfish come from the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk from their in-house aquaculture program. It is the first time Game and Fish has worked with the Women’s Center aquaculture facility to raise and provide fish for the state, and the collaboration has benefits for anglers.

“Game and Fish doesn’t have a cool and warm water fish hatchery  — our fish culture facilities are primarily supplied by colder water sources which make them great for raising trout,” said Guy Campbell, Game and Fish fish culture supervisor. “With the Women’s Center, there was a unique opportunity for them to raise a warm water fish to benefit anglers.”

Typically, cool and warm water fish, such as catfish, stocked in Wyoming are acquired by fish trades with other states.

The agency stocked 1500 fish at Sloans Lake in Cheyenne, 750 at Minnehaha in Cheyenne, 750 at Rock Lake in Wheatland, 500 at Festo Lake in Wheatland, 250 at the Gillette Fishing Lake, 200 at Panther Pond in Wright, 200 at Sundance Fairgrounds Pond, 175 at Mavrakis Pond in Sheridan, 175 at Ranchester City Pond, 380 at Basin Water Plant, 400 at South Worland, 100 at Big Bend 5 in Riverton, 200 at Big Bend 6 in Riverton, 250 at Yesness in Casper, 30 at Fairgrounds Pond 1 in Rock Springs, 50 at Fairgrounds Pond 2 in Rock Springs, 30 at Rock Springs Pond, 30 at Diamondville Pond, and 30 at Lyman City Pond.

Campbell says the catfish acquired from the Women’s Center are much larger than the typical stocking size.

“These jumbo catfish will create an instant summer fishery,” Campbell said.

Fishing licenses are available online, from Game and Fish regional offices and community license selling agents. Kids under 14 fish for free; nonresident youth under 14 must fish with a licensed adult.