Throughout the various weekends this year, Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has had one singular message for residents of the Sportsman's Paradise. That message, Get Out and Fish. That's actually the name of an incentive program created by LDWF to get people out of their homes and outdoors around some of the finest fishing lakes in the country.

To help incentivize local anglers to get out and wet a line LDWF has announced another tagged catfish derby that begins on Saturday, December the 18th. This derby will run through Christmas Day at any of the designated Get Out and Fish ponds across the state.

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Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staffers are placing 10 specially tagged catfish in each of the state's 17 different Get Out and Fish ponds. Anglers are then encouraged to try their luck at landing one of these specially tagged fish. Because doing so will result in a very nice prize package compliments of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Speaking of those 17 different Get Out and Fish locations. There are several in Acadiana or certainly within driving distance. Among the approved locations that are fairly close to Lafayette are Southside Regional Park in Youngsville and Girard Park in Lafayette.

Fishing at Girard Park
LCG provided photo

Get Out and Fish Ponds closer to Lake Charles are include the pond at the I-10 LA Oil and Gas Park in Jennings and the pond at Purple Heart Memorial Park in Ragley. There are 13 other locations scattered about the state including three along the I-20 corridor in North Louisiana and several others in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area.

The premise of the derbies is really quite simple. If you catch a tagged catfish, you simply need to let LDWF know. You can even do that online by following this link.

Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon
Staff Photo

Now, there are a couple of important rules you need to know about these derbies and fishing in Louisiana in general. A recreational fishing license is required for all anglers 16  years and older. A Louisiana fishing license can be procured online. Kids aged 15 and under get in free.

LDWF respectfully requests that anytime you visit a Get Out and Fish lake or pond that you use the online check-in system. This will help LDWF track the use of the lake or pond and help them better determine when and if those bodies of water will need to be restocked.

Now, in the event that you are fortunate enough to land a tagged catfish during the derby dates of December 18 through Christmas Day 2021 you'll want to report that catch via the LDWF website. You can do that here. 

Catfish and Carp via YouTube
Catfish and Carp via YouTube

Department of Wildlife officials tells us that the tagged specimens will be released into the various lakes and ponds no later than December 17th so they should be there and hungry for you to start fishing on Saturday morning.

I for one think this is a great way for Dad to occupy some time with the kids while Mom helps to prepare the house for Santa's arrival on Christmas Day. Or you can flip that and let Mom do the fishing. Either way, it's great family fun and a great way to build a different and unique holiday memory that's only available in Louisiana.

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