Time for my “annual report” on state record fish in the past year. As with most years there was some state record activity and there were some surprises!
There were no fish entered for surface spearfishing records in 2017.
We had four fish certified as new underwater spearfishing state records in the past year. The smallest of those was a whopping 1 ounce alewife taken from Lake McConaughy.
In September, a 10 ounce shortnose gar was certified as a new underwater spearfishing state record; that fish came from a private pit in Merrick County.
And in July a 1 pound bluegill made the books in the underwater spearfishing category; it also came from a private pit this time in Scottsbluff County.
The largest underwater spearfishing state record certified in 2017 was an 18 pound 12 ounce muskellunge taken from Elwood Reservoir.
We had three fish certified as new bowfishing state records last year. The smallest of those was a 2 pound 14 ounce shorthead redhorse, and that fish was arrowed at Lake McConaughy in July.
The other two bowfishing state records taken in 2017 were monstrous fish; a 55 pound flathead catfish taken from the Nemaha River in August,
and a 56 pound 6 ounce bigmouth buffalo taken from Johnson Lake in May.
Rod and Reel
We had four fish taken by rod & reel certified as new records in 2017. The first of those came right after the first of 2017 when a 1 pound 14 ounce redear sunfish was pulled through a Wildwood Reservoir ice hole.
In March a 2 pound 1 ounce tiger trout was caught at the Lake Maloney inlet.
Then we had a couple of triploid crappie caught from Kea Lake at Kearney. The first of those fish was caught in March and weighed exactly 3 pounds.
That fish was bettered a month later by one that weighed four ounces more.
Obviously there are more details to all of those catches including names of anglers, I did not share them in this summary, but if you want to read more check out these previous blog posts: State Record Update, Winter 2017, State Record Update, July 2017, and State Record Update, Spearing and Arrowing.
We usually have around a dozen or so state record fish each year, 2017 was right there with eleven. You can see the complete list of our state record fish HERE.
Close But No Cigar
I hear stories every year about supposed state record fish that were caught, but I never see the paperwork cross my desk. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that “So and So” caught a new state record largemouth bass from some farm pond. . . well maybe I would be retiring and going fishing a few years earlier. Anyway, a lot of those are nothing more than fish stories about big fish that end up being not quite as big as they were thought to be. I believe deer hunters call it “ground shrinkage”.
I did hear several rumors of big wipers that might have been new rod & reel state records this past year. I even saw a photo or two and those fish certainly looked to be record class. But again, no official paperwork ever got to me. Maybe next year?
I did have a report of one fish that was caught & released that would have been a new state record had it been kept. I am sure this 22-inch tiger trout would be our existing rod & reel state record had it been kept, weighed and certified, but a huge congratulations and thanks to the angler who caught AND RELEASED it!
I was hoping for a big tiger like that myself this year, there were several days when I believed there was a chance, but I never caught up to ’em. I will next time!
Which brings up a good point: Take a few minutes and review the 2018 Fishing Guide. Complete rules for getting a fish certified as a state record are included there as well as the application form. You never know what is swimming just beneath the surface!