Anybody can win big bucks in the first-ever $50,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, which begins May 1 on Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

“You don’t have to be a pro fisherman to cash in on some of the greatest fishing in North America,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, sponsor of the Fishing Challenge. “Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine provide some of the top fishing anywhere. In fact, Lake Catherine is the undiscovered gem of Arkansas lakes.”

Beginning May 1 and running through July 31, the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge is open to anyone with a fishing pole and a valid Arkansas fishing license, Arrison said. “We will tag 53 fish and release them in Hamilton and Catherine in advance of May 1,” he said. “The fish released will be nine largemouth bass; nine bluegill, nine catfish, nine striped bass, nine crappie, and eight walleye. One of the fish, which we will call Big Al, will be worth a grand prize of $10,000.

“The other fish will have tags for prizes ranging from $5,000 to $250.” The tags will have a phone number and a prize number on them. If a fish is caught the angler must call the number and present the fish with the tag attached.

“Anybody with a fishing license and pole can win, no matter what their age, skill level. It doesn’t matter if the fish is caught while fishing from a boat, from the bank or from a dock,” Arrison said.

The fish will be tagged by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and released in both lakes by a third party, Arrison said. No one except the person who releases the fish will know the exact location of the release points. The number of fish released in each lake will be determined based on lake size and the total number of tagged fish in each lake will be announced prior to the start of the Challenge.

“We couldn’t do this without the technical assistance of our Game and Fish Commission friends at the Andrew H. Hulsey Fish Hatchery,” he said. “We especially are grateful for help provided by Don Brader, assistant chief of fish hatcheries for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.”

For more information call, Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027 or visit http://www.hotsprings.org/.

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