The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has opened its paddlefish processing station at Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake.
State wildlife officials will clean an angler’s paddlefish, or spoonbills, for free in exchange for the eggs from the female fish, which the state makes into caviar and sells to a wholesaler.
It is the fourth year for the program. Spoonbill caviar is considered by many second only to the real thing, caviar made from beluga sturgeon.
The biggest market for the Oklahoma made caviar is in Europe and Japan. The Wildlife Department has received as high as $185 a pound to as low as $115 a pound in the last three years.
The peak of the paddlefish spawning runs – when they shoot up the rivers to drop their eggs – is usually in late March and early April. Paddlefish do not eat bait and are caught by snagging.