Paddlefish Are Big Business in Oklahoma

Check out today’s Tulsa World for an article by business writer John Stancavage talking about paddlefish, or as we at Grand Lake call them, spoonbill, and the economic impact of these awesome fish on Oklahoma.

Those of us who pay attention to the lake year around know that the spoonbill fishers make a big financial impact locally when they come to the Grand Lake area in the spring each year.

But, did you know that those paddlefish eggs are considered to be a ‘substitute caviar’, with a 2 oz tin going for around $32.

Paddlefishing at Grand Lake
Photo Courtesy of Cassanda Shores at Grand Lake, a great place to stay on your next paddlefishing trip.

That’s cheap compared with the real deal Beluga caviar that goes for close to $300 for a 2 oz tin.

And the rivers systems leading into and out of Grand Lake are among the best in the country for paddlefishing.

As most Grand Lakers know, there is a Paddlefish Research Center located at Twin Bridges State Park near Wyandotte, which seems to be kind of the epicenter of spoonbill fishing on Grand Lake.

Now, there are a lot of restrictions on paddlefishing in Oklahoma, and that’s a good thing. Paddlefish caught on Mondays and Fridays must be released, and you can only keep 1 per day the other 5 days of the week.

What’s great about the Paddlefish Research Center is that you can take the fish you’ve caught to them and they will clean it and give you all the meat…which is delicious as well.

In return, the state records data on the fish and also keeps the eggs from the fish to be sold to licensed caviar producers.

As with anything where money is involved, there are sure to be some knuckleheads.

So, if you see people who are poaching and breaking the paddlefishing laws, go ahead and get them turned into the authorities.

That way we can ensure that Oklahoma, and Grand Lake, remains a destination for paddlefishing enthusiasts from around the world.