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Stop the Presses, BIG FISH!

I started getting notifications about a big fish caught over the weekend, a really big fish.  So, I realize this has been all over the internet already and has hit at least one newspaper; you may have already heard about it, but even if you have, I know folks love hearing about and seeing big fish!

It appears our rod & reel state record for paddlefish has been broken!  Tom Keller from Malcolm was enjoying our paddlefish snagging season in the Gavins Point Dam tailwaters last Friday when he caught a huge paddlefish, a triple-digit paddlefish.

StateRecordRodReelPaddlefish2015
Photo taken at Captain Norms baitshop and displayed on FaceBook.

From what I have been able to gather, that fished weighed 113 pounds 4 ounces and was just a quarter-inch short of 50 inches!  HOLY COW!

More on the story ran in the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Nebraska Man Sets New State Record.

Now, to make that officially an official state record, the paperwork has to cross my desk.  Obviously, I have not seen that yet, but I have heard that all the requirements were met and it should be official.

The number of triple digit fish caught from Nebraska waters is limited.  Back when our state was being settled, there were lots of stories about huge, 100-pound plus fish, mostly catfish, inhabiting the Missouri River.  I have no doubt those stories were true, but unfortunately none of those fish were certified as state records.  Our state record program has only ever seen one fish before this one that exceeded 100 pounds and that was the 107 pound 12 ounce rod & reel state record paddlefish taken back in 2011.  Triple digit fish are a big deal, a really big deal, pardon the pun.

Read more of the details about Tom’s catch in the newspaper story I linked above.  Let me make one other comment on the ginormity of that fish.  Look at the picture, you will notice that the fish was a P-I-G, pig, incredibly fat!  Undoubtedly, that was a paddlefish that lived its life in one of the reservoirs above Gavins Point Dam.  That fish likely lived in Lewis & Clark Reservoir, but it is possible that it even could have spent most of its time in one of the Dakota reservoirs upstream from there.  With the productivity of those reservoirs and the fact that there is a lot less current to swim against in a reservoir, paddlefish that live in a reservoir tend to be a lot heavier for their length, a lot fatter.  Our previous state record paddlefish was taken right after the great flood of 2011 and was in fact a fish that originated in Lewis & Clark Reservoir (More on the State Record Paddlefish).  Most of the paddlefish taken from Nebraska’s Missouri River are fish that live their lives downstream of Gavins Point Dam, they live in a large river habitat, and those fish tend to be a lot skinnier.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a lot of water through Gavins Point Dam this fall and I would speculate that fish moved downstream through the dam gates and then found itself on the end of Tom Keller’s line–truly an exceptional fish and an exceptional catch!  Congratulations, Tom!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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