DOINews: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Talks Paddlefish

Last edited 09/05/2019

As part if its regular feature, "Wildlife Wednesday," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently talked about one of the oldest surviving fish species in North America: paddlefish.

USFWS photo of a paddlefish

USFWS Facebook Post

June 11, 2014

It's wildlife Wednesday and we are going to talk paddlefish. It is among the oldest surviving fish species in North America. But this ancient fish species has been greatly reduced or extirpated over much of its range.

Paddlefish can live up to 30 years and grow up to 7 feet long and weigh 200 pounds. The fish's long, paddle-shaped snout accounts for about one-third of its total body length. The snout helps to stabilize the fish as it swims.

Close to 50 paddlefish were recently released into Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border and the river that forms it, Big Cypress Bayou. The paddlefish were raised at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Fisheries' Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery in Oklahoma. They are 18 months old, 2-3 feet in length, and have a surgically-implanted radio transmitter that will allow scientists to track the movement of individual fish. Three antenna-like receiving towers along different parts of the watershed will help scientists monitor the fish. The release is an experiment that will give researchers data to consider a large-scale stocking in the future.

The fish will be closely tracked by scientists, researchers and students in 20 schools as part of a broad collaboration between private, state and federal agencies: ttp://

Students will track them on the Caddo Lake Institute web site. The Texas Parks and Wildlife will track the fish from small boats in areas of the 26,000-acre lake where there are no receivers. Additional partners include: The Collins Academy, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy, Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters, and U.S. Geological Survey - National Wetlands Research Center.

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

June 12, 2014

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