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2015: Your year for a record fish?

January 5, 2015

By Chris Erwin

2015 came in cold! As I look out over Cave Run Lake from my fish camp, I can’t help but wonder what kind of year this is going to be. All reports are in our favor; eastern Kentucky lakes are in better shape from a fishing stand point than they have been in a long time.

Case in point, Grayson Lake has long been known by many local anglers as the dead sea of fresh water fishing. I can safely say this lake produced more and better fish than it has in the last 10 years. While the crappie fishing still has a long way to go, the bass fishing and hybrids both have produced in numbers and sizes we haven’t seen in a long time. Much of this could be from the lack of pressure since Yatesville Lake has long produced high numbers of quality fish, which drove many to change their lake of choice.

The other bright point is the Ohio River, once referred to as the local tar pits, the Greenup pool and just below the dam, has become a quality fishery. None of us wanted to see industry leave the area, but a result of it and stricter environmental regulations has been the improvement of the Ohio River’s fishery. Aquatic growth has improved, which is a key element to improving numbers of both fry and other food sources for growing numbers of game fish. It also includes the feeding rivers and streams.

If you read the state fish advisory, it’s easy to see that the Ohio River has improved in water quality and eatable fish in recent years. The reports continue to reduce the number of fish on the advisory list and increase the number of fish that are safe to eat.

I bring all of this to your attention because this could be the year that gives you a chance to become a state record holder for one of the many fish available in Kentucky.

Sarah Terry and step-father Scott Salchli holding the Kentucky state record musky caught by Terry on Cave Run Lake in 2008. The fish was hooked on a double Cow-girl spinnerbait, and weighed in at 47 pounds. (photo submitted)

Sarah Terry and step-father Scott Salchli holding the Kentucky state record musky caught by Terry on Cave Run Lake in 2008. The fish was hooked on a double Cow-girl spinnerbait, and weighed in at 47 pounds. (photo submitted)

I admit a few of the records will be very hard to beat. Kentucky holds the World’s Record for smallmouth bass at 11 pounds, 15 ounces. David Hayes caught the record fish on Dale Hollow Lake in 1955. I also think that Sarah Terry’s musky caught in 2008 on Cave Run Lake weighing 47 pounds will be another difficult fish to top.

They are more records that are very old, some even dating back into the 40s and 50s but I believe, some could be broken any day.

One that comes to mind instantly is the white bass record. It was first set in 1943 on Kentucky Lake by Lorne Dawson and then tied in 1957 by B.B. Hardin on Herrington Lake. That record is 5 pounds. I am sure someone has beaten that record but has never thought to register it.

In fact, Kentucky has a lot records that many people are not actively seeking to break. Here are just a few more:

Coosa Bass: Around here we call these fish a redeye or rock bass. Like other bass they are part of the sunfish family. The record for these fish is .53 pounds. That’s right… less than one pound! The record was set in 2005, with a fish taken from Martin’s Fork Creek. This is a very breakable record in the spring when these fish are full of eggs. A 10-inch fish would be in the running.

Channel Catfish is another fish whose record could be broken at any time. The current record is 32 pounds caught in Boyd County from the Ohio River in 2004 by Kyle Estep.

Every winter we hear about the sauger and walleye that are caught from the Greenup dam area. The Sauger record is 7 pounds, 7 ounces. The walleye record is 21 pounds, 8 ounces set in 1958 on Lake Cumberland. The sauger record was set in 1983 it came from the tail waters of the same lake.

There is one other fish known as a Saugeye. Saugeye are a hatchery-produced hybrid made from a cross between a female walleye and a male sauger. The state record is 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught in the Ohio River by Chuck Kouns, of South Shore in 1998.

I feel this is a low-bar record, mostly because this fish is easily misidentified since it looks more like a sauger than a walleye. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife produces about 7 million of these fish a year, which average between 16 to 18 inches. A fish in the 22 to 25-inch range in the spring should beat this record.

As we start this year I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in the record books!

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2 Responses to 2015: Your year for a record fish?

  1. Seth on March 16, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Just sayin I hold the current state record for the coassa bass 2015 0•93 pounds and it was 13 inches I caught it back in 2011

  2. Seth on April 17, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    The state record for Acosta bass is14 inches held by seth goodin

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