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Oklahoma anglers reeling in plenty of paddlefish

More than 2,500 have been checked in this spring at the Paddlefish Research Center
by Ed Godfrey Published: April 6, 2013
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Now is the best time to snag a spoonbill.

State wildlife officials cleaned and packaged 375 paddlefish for anglers on Thursday at its Paddlefish Research Center at Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake, the busiest day of the spring thus far.

More than 2,500 spoonbills have been checked in this spring at the Paddlefish Research Center, located on the junction of the Spring and Neosho rivers, where state wildlife officials filet the fish for free for anglers and package the meat in exchange for the eggs,

State wildlife officials then use the eggs to make caviar which the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation sells to a wholesaler.

The money earned is used for paddlefish research and management.

Grand Lake and its tributaries are a hot spot for paddlefishing. In April, anglers throughout the Midwest travel to northeastern Oklahoma to snag a spoonbill.

“We have 50 people from one town in Iowa down here, said Brent Gordon, northeast fisheries chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

As of Thursday, paddlefish were staging in the Neosho River and anglers “were having pretty good luck catching them (by trolling), Gordon said.

In the spring, the paddlefish will leave the lake and move up the river when it is time to spawn. The paddlefish don't all go at once on their spawning runs and sometimes they never go, Gordon said.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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