On December 5, Lake Murray was stocked with a load of 1/2- to 1-pound trout. The day before, Lake Murray management gave trout fishermen a new incentive to fish at the park: orange-tagged trout that fishermen can catch for money — catch and cash-in.
Karen, a Lake Miramar park worker, said that the tagged-trout-for-reward program was introduced to Miramar a year ago. She said that fishermen could catch up to five trout with reward tags worth ten dollars each. This year the program was introduced to Lake Murray, but with more valuable rewards.
Most fishermen thought the rewards were part of a strategy to increase the fishing business, but the new signs that were set up at a few of the fishing pay stations told a different story.
The “Reward” signs picture a trout with an orange tag on its dorsal fin. The information goes on to read that tagged trout released into the lake are worth a reward. If a tagged trout is caught, the fisherman is instructed to return the tag along with the completed fish-tag-recovery form that is available at an online address listed on the signs.
The signs state that the returned tags will help estimate the catch rates to evaluate the hatchery-trout stocking program.
According to Roth, the lake bait shopkeeper, the lake-fishing traffic has stayed pretty much the same. On December 7, Roth said that after only a few days, three people had caught trout with reward tags worth $5, $10, and $30.