One of my favorite things I get to do in my present position here at the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission is keep track of our state record fish. I will periodically give updates and show a few pictures here on my blog; at this time let me summarize the state record activity for 2012.
We had 14 fish certified as state records in 2012. We recognize state record fish in four categories, hook & line (or rod & reel), archery, underwater spearfishing and surface spearfishing. Over the years we have had by far the most activity in the hook & line category and the records for most species are well-established and relatively hard to exceed. On the other hand, we have far fewer fish that have been certified as records for fish taken by archery, surface spearing and underwater spearing, and therefore we have had a lot more activity for those state records in recent years. We still do not have any records for fish arrowed or speared for some species.
In 2012 we had three new bow-fishing records certified, six new underwater spear-fishing records, two surface spearing and three new records taken by hook & line.
One of the biggest fish certified for a state record last year was a 55 pound bigmouth buffalo shot in a private sandpit by Edward Vansant last May.
Two of the more unexpected state records were taken by bow-fishing last year. First was a 7 ounce brook trout taken from the Middle Fork of Soldier’s Creek.
I say that was an unusual state record because prior to that fish being taken by Brian Pankonin we had no archery state record for brook trout. In recent years, in the name of “simplification” some of our trout stream regulations were changed now making it legal for trout to be shot by bow & arrow (within the regulations that still apply, of course). So, there never was much opportunity prior to last year to arrow a brook trout. Now, before you get up in arms about trout being shot our of our Nebraska trout streams, keep in mind that there are not going to be many people taking trout that way; probably not enough to have any impact on those trout populations.
Another unusual “catch” taken by bow & arrow would have been the 3 pound 8 ounce sauger taken by Marlyn Wiebelhaus from the Missouri River.
That is an unusual catch because the habits of sauger and the habitats in which they live rarely expose them to archery anglers. Until that fish was arrowed last July 4th we again had no sauger bow-fishing record on the books.
Again in 2012 we saw the most state record activity in the underwater spearfishing category. There was a rock bass, hybrid sunfish, longnose gar, flathead catfish, and two grass carp taken by underwater spearfishing that qualified as records in 2012. I am not going to review all of those fish here, just note some highlights, if you want a complete listing look back at these blog posts, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/06/state-record-update-june-2012/ , http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/11/state-record-update-october-2012/ .
The smallest fish taken by underwater spearfishing that was certified as a state record in 2012 was this 1 pound hybrid sunfish shot by Shane Griess from a private sandpit.
And the largest fish certified as an underwater spearfishing state record in 2012 was this 49 pound 11 ounce grass carp taken by Sean Lee Morgan also from a private sandpit.
Sean actually certified two grass carp as underwater spearfishing records last year, the first was a 24 pound 4 ounce fish, but then less than two weeks later he blew his own record away with that 49+-pounder!
Two fish were certified as surface spearfishing state records in 2012, both of them taken from panhandle waters. The first was a 33 pound 2 ounce common carp stuck by Josh Adamson at Box Butte Reservoir last April.
You can see that carp was the “mirror carp” variant of common carp. That is simply a genetic variation, still just a common carp, but those mirror carp are very common in Box Butte Reservoir.
And then in May, Bowen Fitts speared a 6 pound 3 ounce river carpsucker at Lake Minatare.
Hook & Line
Lastly, we had three fish certified as hook & line state records in 2012. The first of those was a 4 pound 8 ounce shovelnose sturgeon taken in April by Steve Horan from the Missouri River.
Then, in May, Eric Fuller took a 6 pound 1 ounce white sucker from Box Butte Reservoir.
And then in July Jeremy Waggoner caught a 7 pound 5 ounce shortnose gar from the Nemaha River that was certified as a new hook & line state record.
That was all for 2012. You can see an up-to-date listing of all of our state record fish here, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/pdfs/recordfish.pdf . Familiarize yourself with that list or at least with the abbreviated listing in the 2013-2014 Fishing Guide, http://www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/fishguide/pdf/FishGuide.pdf . Every year I hear stories or even see fish submitted as Master Angler Awards that could have qualified as state records had they been properly certified. Speaking of the Fishing Guide, again look there for all the rules for state record certification or for Master Angler Awards, and there are some rules governing the taking of game fish by bow & arrow, underwater and surface spearfishing.
There will be more state records caught in 2013. If you are interested in some of my thoughts on the likelihood of new state record fish being taken by hook & line, refer back to my ramblings in this blog post, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/02/state-record-summary-2011/ . One of the things we love about fishing is you just never know, every time you put a line in the water you might catch something really big, maybe even a record!
“I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.”–Robert Altman, film director (1925-2006)