St. Joseph, Mo. The Missouri Department of Conservation is offering rewards from $5 to $100 for the return of tags taken from flathead catfish in the Missouri River.
In June, fisheries biologists tagged more than 800 flatheads in a 50-mile stretch of the river. Anglers who return the tags will help the Conservation Department gain a better understanding of the flathead catfish population in the river and, ultimately, improve fishing.
Flathead catfish are quite common in the river, especially above Kansas City. All catfish in the Missouri River are now protected from commercial fishing, and sport anglers are enjoying good fishing because of the restriction.
For the study, biologists captured fish in June through electrofishing and applied tags to them. Some 25 tags had been turned in by late July. The largest reward given by that time was $20.
The bright red tags are attached along the back of the fish and are numbered on one side and marked with the word "REWARD" on the other. Anglers who catch the tagged fish must return the tag to the Conservation Department to claim their reward.
Anglers must report where and when the fish was caught, its length and weight and whether the angler kept it or returned it to the river. Anglers should also state their name, address, phone number and social security number.
The smallest fish tagged are 12 inches long.