The 7th Annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge - Lake Hamilton

The 7th Annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge

The 7th Annual Hot Springs Fishing Challenge

Last year, the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge was a complete success. This year, it’s going to be even bigger.

It’s Hot Springs Fishing Challenge season once again. This year marks the 7th year of the event since its conception back in 2011. But this year’s event promises to be an even bigger success as the total prize money is about to be increased.

“We’re increasing the number of tagged prize fish this year in celebration of the catching of Big Al, our $15,000 top-prize fish, during last year’s Challenge,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “And we’re increasing the total amount of prize money from $86,000 to $101,000. It’s going to be a great Challenge for 2018.”

As part of this year’s big celebration, a total of seventy-one fish will be tagged and released at secret locations on Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine by the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery. Each tag corresponds to a certain amount of prize, with the biggest prize reserved for Big Al, which is worth $15,000. Four fish will be worth $5,000, 46 will be worth $1,000, and $500 will be won if the other 20 are caught, which will double to $1,000 if caught on Free Fishing Weekend.

“Free Fishing Weekend is an annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Gov. Asa Hutchinson,” Newman said. “Free Fishing Weekend furnishes many citizens and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the amazing angling the Natural State has to offer.

Residents and tourists can begin throwing their lines starting 6 A.M. on May 1, 2018.

Big Al is a name given to a fish that bears the lucky 2018 Fishing Challenge tag. However, its identity has not been revealed, wherein it could be either be a largemouth bass, a stripie, or one of four other species of fish. Clues will be given to its identity when Big Al is still not caught by June, and another clue will be given by July if it has not been caught by then.

The Hot Springs Fishing Challenge begins at 6:00 A.M. May 1, 2018 and ends on July 31, 2018 at 5:00 P.M. CT. The challenge provides anglers the opportunity to catch the tagged fish, which can be redeemed for cash prizes.