Louisiana Encourages Fighting Back Against Invasive Fish

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host an invasive species awareness event on Saturday, September 29, including a free fishing rodeo to help reduce the Rio Grande cichlid population in the Greater New Orleans area.Local anglers are encouraged to fight back against this invasive species, which is known to outcompete native sportfish for habitat and bedding areas.Native to northeast Mexico and southern Texas, cichlids were first reported in Louisiana in June 1996 in Lake Pontchartrain. During the last few years, they have quickly spread throughout the Greater New Orleans area and are now one of the most common fish found in urban canals.This free fishing rodeo, open to youth and adults, was developed to encourage local residents to help reduce cichlid numbers. Competition categories include adult, team (up to 10 participants), and youth (12 & under) divisions. In addition to the fishing competition, there will be plenty of other activities including Louisiana fish and invasive species education, casting lessons, fly fishing demonstrations, free giveaways and much more.Anglers interested in participating in the fishing rodeo can register in advance online at www.wlf.la.gov/rio-registration or onsite beginning at 5:30 a.m. at the Old Casino Building and Popp Bandstand in New Orleans City Park and can begin casting their line immediately after. The first 100 registrants will receive a free ?Rigged and Ready? rod and reel courtesy of CCA Louisiana. Fish weigh-in will close at 11 a.m.

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