LDWF stocks community pond in Vidalia with channel catfish

Published 2:37 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

VIDALIA — A truck with live wells made a stop at Vidalia’s city pond to stock it with channel catfish Friday afternoon. Coming from Texas, these catfish are already adult-sized and are kept in water set to the temperature of the ponds to prevent any shock.

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bought these fish from Texas. They are adult-sized, so fishermen can harvest them. Education and Outreach Coordinator Heather David said these fish are put in ponds to get the community to engage in fishing.

“The second they are stocked, they are the right size to keep,” David said. “This is a community fishing pond, so we are encouraging people to come out and take fish. We want them to be captured. When we stock these ponds, we are well aware they will be taken out.”

William T. McKinley Fishing Pond at the Concordia Parish Recreational Complex is a part of the LDWF’s Get Out and Fish program. Vidalia is one of 17 locations in the state with a community fishing pond. This pond is to the left of the tennis courts.

Get Out and Fish is a program enabling the public, especially kids, to get out and fish at accessible community fishing ponds.

Around the pond is bank access, so the public does not need a boat to fish. This summer, Concordia Parish finished upgrades to the fishing pier, and it spans across the pond with a covered pavilion towards the middle.

People are also encouraged to check in through a QR code on signs around the park or online through the get out and fish page. Check-in data can help the LDWF determine the usage of ponds. Data could also help show the percent of harvested fish from these ponds.

“We are encouraging folks to use the check-in to show us how people are using these ponds,” David said. “People can submit pictures of their catch through the check-in. We pick a photo every Wednesday, and we call it ‘Where do you fish Wednesday,’ and it can be shared on our social media ‘Get out and Fish page.’”

The bag limit on catfish is five fish a person. Non-residents from Mississippi can buy a Louisiana fishing license for $60 for a year, and $5 for a day. Louisiana residents can buy a fishing license for $9.50 for a year.