DNR officials ask anglers to assist in catfish survey
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for the public's help in gathering data on catfish angling and consumption as part of a project to enhance management of the fish.
The project includes DNR tagging catfish to get a better idea of their population and movement. It also will draw upon catfish anglers who are willing to answer a few survey questions and keep diaries of their angling efforts. The angler diaries will provide valuable information that is not typically obtained in standard creel surveys, because many catfish anglers fish at night.
Two surveys are currently available on the DNR website. One survey, which is a statewide survey, asks 10 questions about anglers' catfish consumption. The other survey is a continuation of an earlier 12-question survey launched in 2009 and aimed at catfish anglers who fish in the Twin Cities metro region.
Waterproof paper diaries will be mailed to anglers wishing to participate in keeping catfish angling diaries. Anglers simply need to supply a pencil and return diaries at the end of the year.
Anglers who catch and release a tagged catfish should record the species, length, tag number and location caught, and release the fish with the tag in place. Anglers who harvest a tagged fish should record the same information and report the fish as harvested. Anglers not participating in the catfish angler diary program can still report tagged fish locations using the DNR website.
Catfish are becoming more and more popular with Minnesota anglers, and metro rivers are fertile waters for big cats. The state record flathead catfish, weighing 70 pounds, was caught on the St. Croix River in Washington County. The record channel cat was pulled from the Mississippi River in Hennepin County.