At the end of each year I like to look back at the state record fish that were certified; kind of a “state record annual report”. It is time to do that again. . . .
Let me start with the surface spearfishing state record category. We typically do not see a lot of surface spearfishing record fish in a year and 2015 was no exception. There was one fish certified as a surface spear-fishing record last year, a 36 pound 12 ounce black buffalo. Smallmouth and bigmouth buffalo are far more common than black buffalo in Nebraska waters, so the black buffalo certified as a state record was a notable catch.
There were three fish taken by bowfishing certified as state records in 2015. The first was a hybrid sunfish, a green sunfish X bluegill hybrid. That fish weighed 14 ounces and was 10 inches long.
The other two state record fish taken by archery were both grass carp and they were both taken by the same individual from the same body of water. In July Donavon Uhing arrowed a 78 pound 14 ounce grass carp from a private lake and then in August he stuck one that was even bigger, 79 pounds 10 ounces.
Rod & Reel
We had more activity in the rod & reel state record category in 2015 than for any of the other gears. Rod & reel state record applications started early last year, the first fish was a 2 pound 7 ounce triploid crappie that was pulled through an ice hole on Jan. 2, 2015. That is the first state record fish caught while ice-fishing that we have had in a few years.
That record stood until late April when a larger triploid crappie, a 2 pound 14 ounce fish was caught.
Earlier in April last year, a new state record tiger trout (a brook trout X brown trout hybrid) was caught. That fish weighed just one ounce under a pound.
Finally last October, to top it all off, only the third triple-digit fish ever recorded as a state record was taken during the paddlefish snagging season. That monstrous fish weighed 113 pounds 4 ounces.
Added all up, that was eight new state record fish certified in 2015, not a bad year, especially when it was topped off by that 113-pound paddlefish, largest fish ever certified as a state record. This blog post is just a short summary of the state record fish last year. There is a lot more to the anglers and stories behind all of those fish. Please be sure to check out these blog posts for more information on triploid crappies, tiger trout (something you will be hearing more about in the future), and a whole lot more, State Record Update, March 2015, State Record Update, June 2015, State Record Update, Bowfishing 2015, Stop the Presses, BIG FISH!, More on the Paddlefish Front.
Congratulations to every angler who caught one of those state record fish in 2015!
Near Misses and Oddities
There are a few stories every year about fish that did not quite make it as a state record. Those stories are often interesting, so let me share three of those. . . .
Back in May a gizzard shad taken by surface spearfishing was submitted as a state record. Our surface spearfishing rules state that the only fish that can be taken by surface spearfishing are nongame fish. Because of their classification as baitfish, gizzzard shad technically do NOT qualify as nongame fish according to our regulations. So, “by the book”, gizzard shad cannot legally be taken by surface spearing, so obviously none can be recognized as state records.
If you look through the list of state record fish in the 2016 Fishing Guide, you will notice a 1 pound 11 ounce, “generic” bullhead listed as a bowfishing state record. There are two species of bullheads found in Nebraska waters, black bullheads and yellow bullheads. I would love to be able to designate that “generic” record as one of those species. I have gone way back in the state record files, all the way back to 1978, and the original paperwork for that fish says just “bullhead”. As soon as someone legally arrows a bullhead larger than 1 pound 11 ounces and has it certified as a state record, that old “generic” bullhead record will leave the books and instead we will have a correctly designated bowfishing black or yellow bullhead record listed.
If you go back to my earlier blog post on bowfishing state records this year, State Record Update, Bowfishing 2015, you will find the story of an orangespotted sunfish that tied our existing state record, but did not beat it. To be listed as a new state record, a fish has to be at least one ounce larger than the existing state record.
If you read my state record update in June, State Record Update, June 2015, you saw that I expected the state record for triploid crappie to be pushed higher. I expected that might even happen again this past year, but it did not. Maybe in 2016?
Again, if you look at our state record list in the Fishing Guide, you will notice that we have recognized a spotted gar taken by archery as a state record. Spotted gar are not found in waters anywhere near Nebraska, but those fish submitted for a state record as “spotted gar” were judged by pointy-headed fish biologists to be spotted gar. Well, fisheries science and ichthyology are always advancing, progressing, and if you check out the brand new The Fishes of Nebraska book, you will find an excellent note about “spotted” gar being found in waters “up north” where they should not be. Recent research has found that those fish are in fact NOT spotted gar, but shortnose gar X longnose gar hybrids. Any future “spotted” gar certified as state records in Nebraska will be listed instead as hybrid gar.
You Never Know
You can see a complete listing of Nebraska’s state record fish with all the details here, Nebraska Record Fish. Anytime you put a line in the water, you just never know; there will be more state record fish caught in 2016, and you might catch one of them. Just in case, you might want to take a second to familiarize yourself with the state record rules.
Application forms can be found in every copy of the Fishing Guide. I Cannot wait to see what record fish are caught from Nebraska waters this year! GO FISH!