2019 $101,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge Ends With 24 Prize Fish Worth $24,500 Caught by Anglers | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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2019 $101,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge Ends With 24 Prize Fish Worth $24,500 Caught by Anglers

Published: 8/1/2019

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The 2019 $101,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with anglers landing 24 prize fish worth a total of $24,500.

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The 2019 $101,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge ended at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with anglers landing 24 prize fish worth a total of $24,500.

Big Al — the $15,000 top prize fish in the contest — was not caught. The prize fish was a bluegill released into Lake Hamilton April 30.

“Anglers were catching prize-winning fish hand over fist in May and June,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the creators of the Fishing Challenge. “But all the prize fish must have gone on vacation in July because none was caught after June 24.”

Arrison said Visit Hot Springs would meet with the Challenge co-sponsors at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in the fall to discuss whether the 2020 Challenge would need some tweaking.

“It’s been shown over the course of the eight years we've been doing the Fishing Challenge that it’s a great tool for promoting the wonderful fishing opportunities we have in the three lakes that surround Hot Springs,” he said. “When the Challenge began May 1, it looked like fishermen were going to catch all the prize fish in the first two weeks. Heck, we had four prize fish caught in a single day.”

Seventy-one prize fish — all wearing 2019 orange tags — were released into Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine April 30. Thirty-four percent of the 71 fish were caught.

The annual Challenge participation is free for anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license.

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