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Jones caught his fish in the evening using a 1-oz. rattletrap. Though the hybrid fell short of the state record, it reminds anglers that if they catch a potential state record fish, they should contact an employee of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for procedures on certifying state records. Lake record fish are weighed on scales through lake record keepers registered with the Wildlife Department, but the weighing of state records must be done on certified scales with a witness from the Wildlife Department present.
Jones said the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservationís new Lake Record Fish Program does more than just recognize fish, but that it also encourages the sport of fishing. Before the program was in place, his near state record fish could have gone overlooked by anglers across the state, but the recognition his fish received through the Lake Record Fish Program reminds anglers of the potential that Oklahomaís lakes hold for producing monster-sized fish. "It gets people motivated to fish knowing that there are larger fish in the lake," Jones said. He said it is common in discussions among anglers to wonder about the sizes of the largest fish caught in lakes across the state. "You don't have to wonder anymore," he said. "You can just go on and find out."
Jones is referring to the Wildlife Department's Web site, wildlifedepartment.com, which includes an easily-operated search feature 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. And right now, lake records are being set and broken on a regular basis, which means the wealth of information on the Web site is updating and growing regularly as well.
Other recent lake records include a 4.8-lb. smallmouth bass caught by Derek Thurman of Collinsville. His fish went down as a record smallmouth for Skiatook Lake, but that record was broken just days later, on April 5, when angler Jim Horn of Cleveland landed a 6.6-lb. smallmouth bass from Skiatook using a bait casting rod and reel set up with a jig.
Lakes included in the program include Arbuckle, Broken Bow, Canton, Eufaula, Ft. Cobb, Grand, Kaw, Keystone, Sardis, Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Thunderbird.
Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead 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 are detailed on the Wildlife Departmentís Web site at wildlifedepartment.com. Anglers who catch a potential record 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 wildlifedepartment.com. 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 Departmentís Web site at wildlifedepartment.com. All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes.
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