A Million Dollar Fish

May 17, 2011

The state Department of Environmental Protection has partnered with the store, Cabela's, to sponsor a fishing contest. The agency’s goal is to encourage more people to fish.

The number of recreational fishermen has declined in recent years. Ten years ago, nearly 170,000 people bought fishing licenses in Connecticut. But last year 46,000 fewer licenses were purchased.

The D.E.P. has announced staff have tagged 33 fish in the Connecticut River, the Mashapaug and Highland Lakes. The special tags were paid for by the big outdoor chain Cabela's. If someone catches a fish with one of the tags they’re eligible for a prize. The biggest prize is worth $1 million. If a fisherman is using certain gear from Cabela’s the prize money could double. Jeff Yates from Trout Unlimited says contests like this can inspire people to care more about the environment:

“The more fishermen we have out on our lakes and streams, the more advocates we have to protect these resources. People who fish more frequently will hold a higher value to keeping those rivers and lakes clean, free from pollution.”

The tags for the contest were placed on brown trout, small and large mouth bass. To fish for them, you need a Connecticut fishing license.