For the third consecutive year since the start of the national contest, Pennsylvania is once again the top state for angler participation in Cabela’s “Fish for Millions” tagged fish contest.
The contest started May 4 and concluded July 7, with more than 71,000 registered anglers, nationally, and more than 9,000 of them from Pennsylvania. More than 1,500 tagged fish were available in 22 states where the contest was held, with 313 tagged fish caught for a total of more than $250,000 in prizes awarded.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has partnered with Cabela’s for all three years to bring the contest to the Commonwealth, as added value and fun for Pennsylvania anglers. The Commission is responsible for waters selection and tag distribution throughout the state. Division of Fisheries Management biologists select the fish species and perform the on-sight tagging of the fish in all 12 contest waters, just prior to the contest start in May.
Pennsylvania’s 2013 contest waters were:
• Blue Marsh Lake, Berks County
• Emsworth Pool, Monongahela River, Mile 0 to 11, Allegheny County
• Foster Joseph Sayers Lake, Centre County
• Keystone Lake, Westmoreland County
• Gifford Pinchot Lake, York County
• Lackawanna Lake, Lackawanna County
• Lake Arthur, Butler County
• Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County
• Lake Wallenpaupack, Pike/Wayne Counties
• Pine Creek, Potter/Tioga/Lycoming/Clinton Counties
• Presque Isle Bay, Erie County
• Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County
From among these 12 contest waters, 33 winning tagged fish were caught from Blue Marsh Lake, Foster Joseph Sayers Lake, Gifford Pinchot Lake, Keystone Lake, Lackawanna Lake, Lake Arthur, Lake Wallenpaupack, Pine Creek, Presque Isle Bay and the Monongahela River (Emsworth Pool). Prizes ranged from $100 Cabela’s gift certificates to the top Pennsylvania prize, a $60,000 Ranger bass boat awarded from a tagged largemouth bass caught in Keystone Lake, Keystone State Park. While the million-dollar fish was not caught, Cabela’s has confirmed that the tagged fish did reside in a Connecticut lake.
Tagged fish species caught at Pennsylvania contest waters:
• Blue Marsh Lake: Channel Catfish
• Emsworth Pool, Monongahela River: Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass
• Foster Joseph Sayers Lake: Largemouth Bass
• Keystone Lake: Largemouth Bass
• Gifford Pinchot Lake: Largemouth Bass
• Lackawanna Lake: Largemouth Bass
• Lake Arthur: Crappie and Walleye
• Lake Wallenpaupack: Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass
• Pine Creek: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass
• Presque Isle Bay: Largemouth Bass and Yellow Perch
On Aug. 15, at an outdoor press conference, Hamburg store events manager Harold Luther presented the two top prize winners their awards at the Berks County store location. Luther presented the top prize of a Ranger bass boat to Raymond Biddle Jr. of Jefferson Hills, and a check for a $5,000 shopping spree to Wayne Ziegler of Butler. Ziegler caught a prize-winning tagged crappie at Lake Arthur, Moraine State Park.
PFBC executive director John Arway spoke during the awards presentation, and reminisced about the fun and adventurous nature of similar tagged-fish contests, conducted in the 1960s, when he was growing up in the Pittsburgh area. Arway stated that these types of contests were a way of increasing the excitement that fishing has to offer with anglers.