Barbs and Backlashes

Record Fish by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
June 10, 2009, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags:

One of my job duties is to oversee our state record fish program.  I love big fish regardless of species.  You can see a list of the current records here .  I have the files that include record fish applications from way back.  There are some very interesting things in those files.

Let me tell you a story about one.

For years we had a record on the books for shortnose gar that was out of this world.  We listed a hook & line, state record shortnose gar that was 19 pounds.  That was unusual because the all-tackle world record shortnose gar recognized by the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is only 6 pounds 6 ounces.  Had a shortnose gar been caught from Nebraska waters that was 3 times larger than any other shortnose gar ever documented?  Some of us fish biologists had scratched our pointy-heads over that one.

Then one day I was looking through the old files, and I found the original application for that hook & line state record shortnose gar.  The application simply said “gar”, but there were polaroid pictures included.  I took one look at those pictures and said that was no shortnose gar it was a longnose gar.  A couple of my fellow fisheries biologists agreed with me, and so did a fisheries professor from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Well, I get to “make the call” on those things, so I decided to open up the hook & line shortnose gar record.  Unfortunately the current hook & line longnose gar record was larger than that 19-pounder, so I had to notify the holder of the 19-pound shortnose gar record that his fish was no longer a record.  I apologized to him for the mistaken identification and confusion.

Last year we had a 2 pound, 14 ounce shortnose gar caught by Wyatt Gutzmer occupy the spot as the state record shortnose gar caught on hook and line.  Within the past couple of weeks I received a state record application for a larger shortnose gar caught on hook and line.  It looks like our new record will stand at 3 pounds 6 ounces; a fish caught by Jason Johnson from some backwaters off the Missouri River in Douglas County.  The fish took a minnow.

New hook & line record shortnose gar

New hook & line record shortnose gar

Let me remind folks that if they catch a fish they believe to be a new state record there are some rules that must be followed to certify that record.

1. Fish MUST be caught in accordance with Nebraska Fishing Regulations by rod and reel (not set/limb lines), underwater spear-fishing, surface spearing, or archery and MUST betaken from Nebraska waters.

2. Fish MUST be weighed on an accredited or certified scale.  A commercial measuring tape or stick should be used to measure the fish.  The fish should be measured, from the tip of the mouth (closed) to the tip of the tail (tail lobes pressed together) with the fish laying flat on the tape.

3. Only fish that exceed the current record by at least one ounce are eligible for a state record.

4. Two witnesses, one of which MUST be a permanent employee of the
Commission, must witness the weighing and measuring of the fish
and sign the application.

5. The angler MUST display a Nebraska fishing permit to the Commission employee thatwitnesses the weight.

6. One clear photograph showing a close-up side view of the fish, and one clear photograph showing the angler with the fish MUST accompany the completed application form.  All photographs become the property of the

7. A Commission fisheries biologist MUST verify the species of fish. The
fish MUST be preserved flat until the species is verified.

8. The Commission reserves the right to collect fish scale, tissue or spine
samples to check fish identification, and to refuse any questionable
application submitted.

9. The Commission reserves the right to revoke state records if the record
holder is found in possession of illegal fishing gear or has been cited for repeated fishing violations that cast suspicion on the authenticity of
the record catch.

10. No fish caught from any aquaculture or commercial put-and-take facility is eligible.

11. The application must be submitted within 30 days of the date the fish is

If you catch a fish you believe might be a new state record and have a hard time finding the folks you need to certify it (and if you catch it on a weekend that very likely will be the case), keep the fish alive as long as possible.  But, even if it perishes it WILL NOT lose weight just because it died.  As long as you keep the fish from drying out, it will not lose weight.

We have one other hook & line record pending, but I cannot say anything about it until we get some lab results back.

GO FISH, you never know!

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

nice post 🙂

Comment by mark roselle

[…] one of my job duties is oversight of the record-keeping for Nebraska’s state record fish, .  It is time for some […]

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