You’ll have a story to tell when you catch one of Oklahoma’s prehistoric paddlefish

Pictured is Cory Watters and 9-year-old son, Stetson. Photograph credit score: Oklahoma Division of Wildlife Conservation

Nice information! You gained’t have to go away the nation (or the state)  to get an unforgettable fishing expertise. For these of you who love the joys of an uncommon catch, fishing for a paddlefish is likely to be the subsequent journey you’ll need to find time for.

What makes the paddlefish species distinctive?

It’s not simply their aesthetic that makes these creatures seem like they got here from the dinosaur age, these animals are actually prehistoric! They’ve developed solely barely for the reason that  Cretaceous period 65 million years ago.

Paddlefish can stay for as much as 50 years and are generally discovered to weigh 40-60 kilos. The largest paddlefish ever caught weighed a whopping 198 lbs.

The fish have a protracted, beak-like nostril and delicate grey pores and skin, void of scales. They’re usually described as shark-like in form—and dimension!

How do I catch a paddlefish?

Along with a free paddlefish allow (simply choose “Get a Paddlefish Allow” once you get your license online), you’ll want just a little greater than your typical rod and reel for this catch. In keeping with Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife, you want “a stout surf rod, heavy check line, and a big, barbless treble hook” should you plan on bringing a paddlefish out of the water.

In contrast to many fish, paddlefish gained’t come to your bait. They should be “snagged” with an enormous, three-pronged hook. As a substitute of throwing in your line and ready for one thing to chew, you’ll have to tug your hook behind a shifting boat. Upon getting them snagged, they are going to doubtless put up a robust battle. In the event you like pleasure, you’ll not be dissatisfied!

The paddlefish season runs year-round in Oklahoma, however your greatest alternative for catching one falls through the months of March and April when the fish spawn.

The place can I am going to search out paddlefish?

Paddlefish will be present in many various lakes and river techniques in Oklahoma, however are mostly caught in Grand Lake, Lake Hudson, and Fort Gibson Lake.

Can I rent a information?

Completely! It’s frequent for folks to rent a licensed fishing information in an effort to optimize their expertise. Discover a checklist of fishing guides in Oklahoma here.

Once I catch a paddlefish, ought to I hold it or launch it?

It’s as much as you to resolve if you wish to hold or launch your massive catch! In the event you resolve to maintain the fish, you have to tag it together with your paddlefish allow quantity as quickly as you’re able. Usually, anglers use duct tape wrapped across the nostril of the fish and a everlasting marker to create the label.

You might think about bringing the fish to the Paddlefish Analysis Middle in Miami, Oklahoma. You’ll be able to both drop off your fish or name the middle to have somebody meet you for pickup. The fish should be alive to be processed by the middle, however they are going to clear your fish totally free so long as it was legally caught. Speak about a good way to get your fish fillets and help organic analysis!

Have you ever skilled the glory of a paddlefish catch? We’d love to listen to your story within the feedback under!

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