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There's still time to catch a good spoonbill in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation official predicts about two more weeks of good fishing.
BY ED GODFREY, Staff Writer, Published: March 31, 2012

There is still time to snag some spoonbills this spring in northeast Oklahoma, but anglers should do it quickly.

Eric Brennan, fisheries technician in the northeast region for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, predicts about two more weeks of good fishing.

Brennan said state wildlife officials are already seeing female paddlefish that have already spawned coming through the Wildlife Department's cleaning and processing center near Grand Lake.

The Wildlife Department has processed more than 1,500 paddlefish, or spoonbills, at its new center this spring with the biggest being a 76-pounder, Brennan said.

The new paddlefish research and processing center is on SH 137 about 3 miles north of Twin Bridges State Park.

The center was built with money earned from the sale of paddlefish caviar.

At the center, the Wildlife Department will clean an angler's paddlefish for free and package the fillets in exchange for the eggs from the female, which are used to make caviar.

The Wildlife Department then sells the caviar to a wholesaler, and the money raised is used for paddlefish management and research.

Anglers are allowed to keep one paddlefish per day, except on Mondays and Fridays when all paddlefishing statewide is catch and release only.

A free paddlefish permit along with a state fishing license is required of anglers. Paddlefish are only caught by snagging.