Accidental Catch Breaks State Record

Two walleye anglers hoping to catch a few fish for the table end up with a 105-pound monster.

Walleye angler Jessie Wilkes and his partner Richard Wynne were trolling Walleye Runner crankbaits on the White River arm of Beaver Lake, Ark., when his fishing rod bowed under the weight of a heavy fish. Rather than a double-digit ‘eye, however, the fish turned out to be a 105-pound, 65-inch paddlefish.

The giant spoonbill had been snagged in the side, which is how this species is typically caught since it feeds by straining plankton from the water and rarely takes a lure.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Wilkes' fish topped the previous state record, a 102 ½-pound fish caught on Beaver Lake in 2007.

Regional Fisheries Supervisor Jon Stein said Wilkes' record-breaker was likely the result of stockings that took place in the late 1990s from the Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery. The species was stocked in the lake five years during the 1990s, once in 2000 and once in 2008.

“The paddlefish from that stocking are 15 years old and older, “he said, “so most are likely over 60 pounds by now. But this is the largest I’ve ever seen.”


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