ROCK SPRINGS — Several ponds in southwest Wyoming, including three in Rock Springs, are now home to “jumbo” catfish thanks to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Game and Fish Department recently stocked 6,000 channel catfish into 19 community fishing ponds statewide. The fish are considered “jumbo-sized” at 13 to 14 inches, and department officials say they make great table fare.
Thirty catfish were stocked at the fishing pond at the Paul Wataha Recreational Complex. At the Sweetwater Events Complex, 30 fish were stocked in one pond and 50 in the other. Community ponds in Diamondville and Lyman also received 30 fish each.
The catfish come from the in-house aquaculture program at the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk. It is the first time Game and Fish has worked with the Women’s Center aquaculture facility to raise and provide fish for the state, and the collaboration has benefits for anglers, according to a press release.
“Game and Fish doesn’t have a cool and warm water fish hatchery — our fish culture facilities are primarily supplied by colder water sources which make them great for raising trout,” said Guy Campbell, Game and Fish fish culture supervisor. “With the Women’s Center, there was a unique opportunity for them to raise a warm water fish to benefit anglers.”
Typically, cool and warm water fish such as catfish that are stocked in Wyoming waters are acquired by fish trades with other states.
Campbell said the catfish from the Women’s Center are much larger than the typical stocking size.
“These jumbo catfish will create an instant summer fishery,” he said.
Fishing licenses are available online, from Game and Fish regional offices and at community license selling agents. Kids under 14 fish for free; nonresident youth under 14 must fish with a licensed adult.
Catfish were also stocked in ponds in Cheyenne, Wheatland, Gillette, Wright, Sundance, Sheridan, Ranchester, Basin, Worland, Riverton and Casper.