I have a few state record applications sitting here on my desk; time to give you an update. Let me just take ’em in order. . . .
Tiger trout are a brown trout X brook trout hybrid. Tigers have never been stocked in Nebraska waters, but we have a few Pine Ridge streams where both brown trout and brook trout are present and hybridization in the wild is a possibility. We had the first rod & reel state record tiger trout caught in 2006 and the current record fish was taken in 2013, both of those fish from Soldiers Creek. Now we have had an even bigger tiger trout caught: On April 4 Timothy Engelland of Gering was fishing West Hat Creek and caught a 13 1/4-inch tiger that weighed just an ounce short of a pound. He caught that fish on a Panther Martin spinner. Tiger trout are a beautiful fish:
I briefly talked on the phone one afternoon with Tim, and can tell you that he is a very accomplished and well-traveled angler with some great stories to tell. You can read more about this particular catch and some more of his angling accomplishments here, Gering Angler with Appetite for Variety Bags State Record Trout. In my opinion, Tim’s catch was no accident–you make your own “luck”.
Keep tiger trout in mind–I said earlier that we have not stocked tiger trout in any Nebraska waters and that the rare tiger hybrids that have been caught have been the products of natural reproduction in the wild. Besides being gorgeous fish, tiger trout also have the potential to grow A LOT larger than our current nearly 1-pound rod & reel state record. We may have some tiger trout to be stocked in select Nebraska waters in the future, stay tuned.
Another Triploid Crappie
In my last state record update I told you the whole story about triploid crappies, State Record Update, March 2015. Before you start asking all the questions about what in the world is a “triploid” crappie, spend a few minutes and read that particular blog post. We have only a handful of waters in Nebraska where we have stocked triploid crappies and fish caught ONLY from those waters will qualify as state record triploid crappies. Kea Lake at the Kearney Interstate 80 interchange is one of those waters and the triploid crappies there have grown to trophy size. The initial rod & reel state record for that fish was set at 2 pounds 7 ounces last January, but Kyle Babl of Kearney has already bettered that. On April 26, Kyle caught a 2 pound 14 ounce, 16 3/4-inch triploid crappie from Kea Lake. He caught that fish on a black and chartreuse jig.
I doubt that our triploid crappie rod & reel state record has plateaued yet. A crappie just short of 3 pounds is a really nice fish, but I am betting that record will go higher. If you want a shot at it, Kea Lake is where I would be fishing.
I saved the biggest until last for this state record update. On May 7 Brady Bridges of Lincoln took a 36 pound 12 ounce black buffalo by surface-spearing. Bigmouth and smallmouth buffalo are common fish in many Nebraska waters and we have had state records in all categories for those species for many years now. Black buffalo are closely-related but are far less common, in fact they are a somewhat rare catch. Brady’s black buffalo is the first we have ever had entered for a surface spearing state record. Black buffalo can grow larger than 36 pounds, no doubt about that, but because of their rarity this record might stand for some time.
The identification between smallmouth buffalo and black buffalo is not easy. If you think you might have a black buffalo, be sure to look closely at the keel in front of the dorsal fin, buffalo identification.
That is all I have for now. I have been told that paper work on another fish taken by spearing is in the mail; have to include that in my next update. I also have heard a story or two about other fish that nearly missed being new state records. You can see a complete list of our state record fish HERE.
Congratulations to Tim, Kyle and Brady. Your state record certificates will be coming in the mail, finally.
I will always remind you that one of the beauties of fishing is you just never know. You cannot catch anything sitting at home on the couch, but if you are on the water, the next fish may be the biggest you have ever seen, and it might even be a state record. It never hurts to take a minute to familiarize yourself with the state record rules, check out pages 32 and 33 in the 2015 Fishing Guide. GO FISH! and good luck!