Lincoln, Neb. – Nebraska’s hook-and-line paddlefish record was not broken recently – it was shattered.
Louis Maring of Merna, Neb., snagged the 107-pound, 12-ounce paddlefish on Oct. 6 from the Missouri River’s Gavins Point Dam tailwaters. It topped the old record by more than 14 pounds.
Maring’s record breaker came on his first time paddlefish snagging. He and two friends had drawn tags.
“We just thought it was a big paddlefish; we didn’t know it was a record,” said Maring, 36, of his initial reaction to snagging the fish. “We didn’t know what we had until it hit the scale.”
Daryl Bauer, Game and Parks’ fisheries outreach program manager, believes he knows why the fish was so big.
“There is some truth to the fact that fish that live in rivers – flowing water with a current – often are more sleek and slender, while fish living in standing waters can be fatter,” Bauer said. “This fish had more girth than the river fish that are typically taken from the tailwaters.”
Bauer believes the fish, which was tagged June 2, 1992, below South Dakota’s Fort Randall Dam, spent the last 19 years in Lewis and Clark Reservoir before escaping during the high water releases last summer.
Since being tagged, the fish grew nearly 10 inches in length and added almost 59 pounds. Bauer said the fish may have been 40 years old when it was snagged by Maring.
“You can go back and find historical stories of triple-digit fish taken during the settling of our state, but this fish is the largest Nebraska record of any species that has been documented,” Bauer said.
The previous paddlefish record of 93 pounds was set in 1998.