When Gary Wiese took a hunting trip to Wisconsin, he hardly expected that it would result in a new world record for yellow perch. Especially since he caught no fish during the trip, the record did not belong to him, and the yellow perch in question was actually caught last March.
So how did it happen? According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, it was a case of fortunate happenstance. In addition to his love of hunting, Wiese is an avid angler and regularly took trips to Idaho’s Lake Cascade with his 12-year-old daughter, Tia Wiese. The lake was especially popular with anglers because of restoration efforts than started more than a decade ago, when thousands of yellow perch were released into the lake. For the past few years, anglers fishing at Lake Cascade have routinely reported perch over two pounds, and Wiese himself took a fish close to the state record. His daughter, on the other hand, nabbed that record last March.
“She was really excited. She was jumping up and down,” Gary said in a press release. “We were both pretty excited.”
The pair was ice fishing out on the lake when the record perch got tangled in their lines. When Tia Wiese finally managed to land the hefty fish, she said that she knew it was a winner.
“I couldn’t quit smiling,” Tia recalled. “It was the biggest perch I’ve seen. I was kind of hoping it was a state record.”
Her father agreed. After weighing the perch on his own scale, Wiese called off fishing for the day and hurried to transport the perch to a certified scale. There, it was confirmed as the new state record at 2 pounds and 11.68 ounces. However, it was not until much later that Wiese realized that his daughter’s fish also qualified for the world record as well.
While hunting near Hayward, Wisconsin, Wiese decided to pay a trip to the Fresh Water Hall of Fame and Museum located there. As Wiese perused the museum, he learned that his daughter’s fish actually qualified not just for a state record, but also for a spot in the world record books.
“I knew there were different line class records, but I didn’t know there were records like ice fishing,” Gary said.
Sure enough, Tia’s yellow perch beat out the record for yellow perch caught ice fishing with a tip-up, which previously belonged to a 2-pound, 6-ounce fish out of Sheep Pond, Massachusetts. Wiese promptly filled out an application for the record and since Tia’s fish was already recognized as a state record, it did not take long for the Fresh Water Hall of Fame to respond. It seems that massive perch from March is still full of surprises.
“I was laughing so hard I was crying,” Tia said when she heard the news from her father.
However, time will only tell if her record lasts through to the end of the season. With Idaho freezing over, anglers will soon have their own chance at a record-sized fish.
Image courtesy Idaho Fish and Game