Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Catfish stocked in regional waters

Catfish stocked in regional waters

July 30, 2020
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Sheridan - On July 22, Game and Fish personnel stocked five Sheridan Region fisheries with channel catfish raised at the in-house aquaculture program at the Wyoming Department of Corrections Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk.

Mavrakis Pond in Sheridan and Ranchester Pond each received 175 fish. Panther Pond in Wright and the Sundance Fairgrounds Pond were stocked with 200 fish and the Gillette Fishing Lake with 250.

The Women’s Center procured the fish as fingerlings at the end of 2019 and inmates raised the fish to their stocking size of 13 to 14 inches. This large size makes them immediately catchable for lucky anglers.

“We wanted to stock them in community fisheries that get a lot of use,” said Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor Paul Mavrakis. “They are a bottom-oriented fish so anglers should be able to catch them on worms or power bait. They are a long-lived fish and can live to twenty years or older. We’ve seen them grow to ten pounds in our area and the state record is twenty-eight pounds. It is highly prized as an eating fish.”

The channel catfish is a native fish in the Sheridan Region. It has been stocked in the past at other community fisheries such as Kleenburn Ponds near Sheridan and Newcastle Pond, though these fish have been much smaller when stocked and require time to grow before being accessible to anglers.

This is the first time Game and Fish has worked with the Women’s Center aquaculture facility to raise and provide fish for the state.

“It was a great opportunity to cooperate between agencies,” said Dr. Heidi Atwood, correctional industries site manager at the Women’s Center. “We have a lot of women interested in the program and very few that leave it except to move on in their programming or to leave the facility. They are an integral part of the program and are always excited when we have new fish coming in or a shipment of fish leaving. The channel catfish were especially exciting as they were a new species, something we had not had since doing bait minnows a number of years ago.”

The catfish stocked in the Sheridan Region are part of 6,000 catfish stocked in 19 community fisheries throughout the state. Game and Fish Department Fish Culture Supervisor Guy Campbell, said the new program had minimal costs and provided inmates an opportunity to give back to the state.

“So far, the public has been very receptive to the stocking and new opportunity,” said Campbell. “By working with another state agency, it creates efficiency and benefits both agencies. We plan to continue this partnership and future stockings next year.”

- WGFD -

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