Outdoor notebook: State offers reward for reporting tagged blue cats at El Dorado Reservoir

Josh Rouse
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has tagged about 2,000 blue catfish at El Dorado Reservoir.

Fishing may be its own reward, but catfish anglers on El Dorado Reservoir now have an extra incentive to seek out the whiskery gamefish.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologists have tagged up to 2,000 blue catfish at El Dorado in the past couple of weeks, and anglers are encouraged to report their catch to biologists to help with ongoing research on the population at the lake in exchange for an award as compensation.

The tag is a small yellow or orange vinyl tube affixed beneath the dorsal fine, according to the KDWPT, which said that one side of the tag would contain a number unique to that fish and the other would have a phone number to report the catch. The state said biologists hope to glean pertinent information from anglers through this study, including population size, entrainment through the dam and susceptibility to harvest. Biologists will need to know the length of the fish, date caught, five-digit tag number and whether the fish was kept or released.

Anglers who call 620-342-0658 to report a tagged blue cat will receive a reward. If the fish isn’t of legal harvest size (between 25 and 35 inches) or if you have reached the daily creel limit, anglers should return it to the water immediately after recording the information. Anglers are encouraged to keep legally harvested fish if they were already planning to do so.

In the fall of 2018, the state also began a three-year walleye study at Glen Elder Reservoir where fish were tagged with ultrasonic transmitters. The state offered a $100 prize for the return of any transmitter taken from a legally harvested fish in that study.