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When tiger trout were brought to Arkansas and stocked in the tailwater below Bull Shoals Dam, there didn’t seem to be a need to immediately talk limits.
But the fish seem to be forcing the issue.
The hybrid of a brown trout and a brook trout, obtained by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in a trade with Wyoming, was stocked in the catch-and-release section of the tailwater.
Christy Graham, the AGFC's trout program coordinator, said they have had reports of the tiger trout migrating at least 7 miles beyond where they were stocked, and she's fielded calls about them. Resorts have contacted the AGFC Fishing Report to ask about limits on tiger trout caught outside the catch-and-release area.
For now the limits are essentially the same as any trout in the Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters (which includes the recently-stocked golden rainbows), Graham said.
"They fall within the five-trout daily limit requirement and anglers can only keep one trout over 14 inches (regardless of species),” she said. “So, they can keep five tiger trout per day that are under 14 inches, or four tiger trout per day under 14 inches and one over 14 inches. This only applies if they are caught outside of a catch-and-release area, because all trout have to be released within those areas."
One of the proposed fishing regulations that will come up before the AGFC commissioners for vote in August seeks to make tiger trout a catch-and-release species in all waters while the agency studies how the hybrid can handle the Arkansas waters.
If the regulation passes, it wouldn't go into effect until Jan. 1.
Tiger trout are mostly found in the western and northwestern parts of the United States, but biologists believe the hybrid may be able to handle Arkansas's trout waters better than brook trout. The stocking a few weeks back totaled 2,500 fish that were about 10-12 inches in length.