Hot Springs Fishing Challenge prize money increased

Big Al is back, and this time he’s bringing a bigger gang.

The Annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, which runs from Thursday, May 1, through Thursday, July 31, will have a total prize pool of $75,000, compared to $60,000.

The number of tagged prize fish placed in Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine also will be increased — from 53 to 60, according to Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison.

“The Fishing Challenge has proved to be so popular with Hot Springs residents as well as with our visitors that we thought it was time to ramp up the number of potential winning fish and the prize money,” Arrison said. “Judging from the responses we got during the first two Fishing Challenges, we view the contest as a real source of positive attention to the great fishing available in Hot Springs.
“Once again, we are partnering with our friends at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery to bring this fun-filled contest to the people of Arkansas and our visitors. They select and tag the prize fish for us and they supervise the release of the fish into the lakes. Without them we could not possibly stage the Challenge.”

The 2014 Hot Springs $75,000 Fishing Challenge will begin at 6 a.m. on May 1 and end at 5 p.m. July 31.

The total number of tagged prize fish released into Lakes Hamilton and Catherine will include:

  • 1 fish, known as Big Al — $10,000
  • 4 fish (up from two last year) — $5,000 each
  • 35 fish (up from 30 last year) — $1,000 each
  • 20 fish — $500 each

The first two years, the grand prize fish, nicknamed Big Al, was not caught, Arrison said. “So we hope this year to hand some lucky angler a check for $10,000, in addition to prizes for 59 more tagged fish.”

Here is how the Fishing Challenge works:

  • Eligibility: The contest is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license. Employees of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at the Andrew H. Hulsey Fish Hatchery and their immediate family members, and/or those living in the same household of each, are ineligible to win a cash prize.
  • How It Works: Sixty tagged fish (total) will be released in Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. The fish released will be largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, white bass, crappie and walleye. 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.

The fish will be tagged by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and released in both lakes by a neutral third party. No one will know the exact location of the release points except for this individual.

No cash prize will be awarded to any participant presenting a tagged fish that has been caught other than during the fishing period. Tags must be presented during the fishing period to be redeemed. All tagged fish must be caught in accordance with all state and local laws, codes, rules and regulations. Rules and regulations can be found at:
No cash prizes will be awarded to any participant who does not comply with state and local laws, codes, rules and regulations.

  • Publicity Release: Each angler who catches a prize fish grants Visit Hot Springs the rights to use their name, likeness, biographical information, and photographs, without compensation, in any and all media without limitation for advertising and promotional purposes.
  • General Prize Conditions: Prize winners shall be solely responsible for all federal, state and/or local taxes associated with their prize.
  • Prize Distribution: The tagged fish will each be assigned a number.

Total possible prize money if all fish are caught during the contest period is $75,000. For additional information on the Fishing Challenge call Steve Arrison at 501.321.2027.