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  • Oklahoma Outdoor News

    New Kaw lake record flathead hooked
    Location: Oklahoma

    If Lesley McNeff of Mustang had caught her 78 lb. flathead catfish from Kaw Lake this time last year, she may have been the only one to cherish the sweet memory, but since she caught it March 8 of this year, the big cat will go down in the record books. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation initiated its Lake Record Fish Program in February, 2008, to recognize the biggest fish from a number of lakes across the state, as well as the anglers who reel them in. McNeff's catfish goes down as the first lake record flathead catfish and the third lake record caught since the inception of the program. It was caught on a trotline baited with whole shad, and McNeff, 25, and her father braved cold weather to bring home the fish. "It was really cold," McNeff said. "It was 19 degrees when we got on the water."

    The pair checked her fatherıs trotline first, coming up with three nice-sized flatheads, then switched to check Lesley's trotline. There was only one fish on the trotline, but neither of them expected to find a Kaw lake record weighing an even 75 lbs with a length of 51 inches and a girth of 34.25 inches. "I was not disappointed that it was the only fish on the line!" McNeff said.

    McNeff enjoys running trotlines this time of year with her father, who learned the art of successful trotline fishing from his father. "My dad's the best trotline fisherman I know," McNeff said. "He knows how and where to set them, how to run them." And McNeff's father has been showing her the ropes since she was just a youngster.

    Her flathead catfish comes after two other lake records were set in late February. One was a 14 lb., 8 oz. largemouth bass caught by Allen Gifford, Davis, from Arbuckle Lake, and the other was a 40.1 lb. Grand Lake blue catfish caught by Illinois resident Denny Halgren.

    Besides Kaw Lake, there are currently 12 other major lakes included in the Lake Record Fish pilot program, including Arbuckle, Broken Bow, Canton, Eufaula, Ft. Cobb, Grand, Keystone, Sardis, Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Thunderbird.

    Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include flathead, blue and channel catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass.

    Minimum weights are set for each species and are detailed on the Wildlife Departmentıs Web site at

    Anglers who catch a potential record fish from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on

    Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department's Web site at

    An easily-operated search feature is available on the Web site that allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from the size of record fish caught to what kind of bait or rod and reel was used to catch them.

    All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes.

    For more information about the new Lake Record Fish Program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to

    News Source: Oklahoma Wildlife Dept - Mar. 15, 2008

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