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Chicago, Calumet Rivers Are Being Stocked With Catfish

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 10, 2014 7:45PM

Photo credit: Alan Amati

Good news for folks who like to drop an occasional fishing line into the Chicago River. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit group Friends of the Chicago RIver is releasing 30,000 catfish into the Chicago and Little Calumet Rivers Tuesday.

The move is part of a restoration project intended to spur the catfish population in both rivers. Catfish are a native species to the area but the water quality of the Chicago and Calumet rivers haven't been the best to spur growth of the species over the years.

Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, said the release of the catfish is a sign of how far the waterways have come in a short amount of time.

“This is exciting because the Chicago River is evolving into a place where these fish can thrive,” she said.

The restoration project, which will cost $300,000, includes the installation of nesting areas in the river so the catfish will be encouraged to establish homes and breed. While all this is good news for fishermen, we wouldn't recommend eating your catch just yet. The DNR warns against eating fish caught from the Chicago River because of chlordane and/or polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination.