By William D. Anderson

Catch-Photo-Release Fish Facts

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Largemouth Bass

Micropterus salmoides

This species is part of the Sunfish Family. A highly sought after game fish introduced throughout the US with often disastrous effects on native species. This species feeds mainly on other fish and is tolerant of warm water, but will become inactive at higher temperatures.

Largemouth will usually start looking for nest sites at around 60 degrees and start dropping eggs at 62 to 65 degrees. This temp can vary slightly by lake. Bass prefer sand or gravel but will utilize softer bottoms under certain conditions. Targeting spawning Bass usually leads to the destruction of any eggs or young the fish may have been guarding. Largemouth Bass can live more than 16 years. A Largemouth Bass's activity level is at it's peak when the water is right around 80 degrees and tends to slow dramatically as the water rises above 85 degrees. Above 95, larger fish will tend to die off unless there is a great deal of dissolved oxygen in the water. Smaller fish are better able to cope with extreme temperatures.

The world record is 22lbs 4 oz. - Montgomery Lake, GA


Smallmouth Bass

Micropterus dolomieui

This species is part of the Sunfish Family. Smallmouth usually start to spawn when the water is around 62-64 but have been found spawning at 53 and 75 degrees. The male may sweep several practice nests before utilizing one. This is most often on gravel. Smallmouth prefer deeper water and swifter current than Largemouth and are less tolerant of warmer water. Smallmouth Bass have been caught in water over 100 degrees though.

The world record is 11lbs 15oz. - Dale Hollow Lake, KY


Spotted Bass

Micropterus punctulatus

This species is part of the Sunfish Family. Spotted Bass are often confused with Largemouth Bass and are a highly sought after sport fish.

The world record is 9lbs 9oz. - Pine Flat Lake, CA



Cyprinus carpio

Carp were introduced in the US by the United States Fish Commission in the late 1880s as a food source. They never became popular as a food or sport fish and have been detrimental to native species. Carp are a great fighting fish when hooked and they can withstand very stagnant water. During the winter months carp mainly feed on the bottom. They prefer softer bottom material so they can root around and find food. During the summer, carp will often feed on the surface.

World Record Carp is 75lbs 11 oz. - Lac de St. Cassien, France


Grass Carp

Ctenopharyngodon idella

This species is native to Asia and was widely introduced. Originally it was introduced as an experiment in 1963 into ponds in Alabama and Arkansas as a means to control vegetation because these fish can eat more than their body weight daily. The elimination of vegetation leads to the destruction of fish and waterfowl habitat.

World Record Grass Carp is 69lbs 8oz. - Lake Petersburg, IL *Grass Carp over 100 pounds have been caught.*


Black Buffalo

Ictiobus niger

This species has some commercial value as a food fish but hasn't become popular as a game fish. Part of the sucker family.

Black Buffalo world record is 63lbs 6oz. - Percy Priest, TN - Mississippi River, IA


Bigmouth Buffalo

Ictiobus cyprinellus

This species has some commercial value as a food fish but hasn't become popular as a game fish. Part of the sucker family.

Bigmouth Buffalo world Record is 70lbs 5oz - Bussey Brake, LA


Smallmouth Buffalo

Ictiobus bubalus

This species has some commercial value as a food fish but hasn't become popular as a game fish. They are ferocious fighters when hooked. Part of the sucker family.

Smallmouth Buffalo World Record is 88lbs - Lake Wylie, NC


Plated Mirror Carp

This species has large scales.

Cyprinus carpio


Channel Catfish

Ictalurus punctatus

This is the most popular commercially raised fish. It is sought in the wild for sport and commercially as a food fish. Channel catfish are know to fight hard when hooked.

Channel Catfish World Record is 58lbs. - Santee Cooper Reservoir, SC


Flathead Catfish

Ictalurus olivaris

This large sport fish likes good cover. Often  sought commercially for food.

Flathead Catfish World Record is 123lbs 9oz. - Elk City Reservoir, KS


Blue Catfish

Ictalurus furcatus

A popular commercial fish and one of the largest North American freshwater species, this fish has seen a decline in population over the years due to over fishing and the limitations placed on it's natural migration by the installation of dams and locks.

Blue Catfish World Record is 124lbs. - Mississippi River, Alton, IL

*This fish was kept alive after capture and will be released at a later date.


Northern Pike

Esox lucius

The Northern Pike is the most widely distributed freshwater species in the world. This species is sometimes sought commercially for food and is a very popular sport fish. Pike spawn in water between 34 and 40 with the middle of that range being the optimal temperature. One female Pike can have up to three males guarding the nest which is usually in vegetation that the eggs adhere to.

The world Record Northern Pike is 55lbs 1oz. - Lake of Grefeern, Germany



Esox masquinongy

This is the largest species of the Pike family and a very popular sport fish. It will eat any animal that it can swallow including rodents, ducks, amphibians, and other creatures, but primarily feeds on other fish. Musky prefer to spawn in water around 55 degrees but have been found spawning in water as cool as 49 and as warm as 60. They will lay eggs anywhere over a large area. They don't build nests or defend their young.

Muskellunge World Record is 69lbs 11oz. - Chippewa Flowage, WI


Tiger Musky

A Tiger Musky is a cross breed between a Pure Musky and a Northern Pike.

Tiger Musky World Record is 51lbs 3oz. - Lake Vieux Desert, WI/MN



Stizostedion vitruem

A very popular sport and commercial fish, this is the largest North American species of the Perch family. Walleye begin their spawning migration when the water is between 38 and 44 degrees with spawning taking place when the water is 42 to 50. Walleye are not territorial when they lay eggs and don't care for their young.

Walleye World Record is 25lbs  - Old Hickory Lake, TN



Stizostedion canadense

This species of the perch family is commercially harvested in Canada and is a popular sport fish where it exists in North America. This species has large eyes which helps it find it's food.

Sauger World Record is 8lbs 12oz. - Lake Sakakawee, ND

Sauger-Walleye Hybrid World Record is 15lbs 10oz. - Ft. Peck Reservoir, MT


Yellow Perch

Perca flavescens

This species lives in schools in deeper water during the day and is known to move into shallower water at dusk to feed. It is also often harvested commercially in the US and Canada. Yellow perch spawn when the water is between 45 and 52 degrees and don't build nests or guard their young. They have also been known to go into water that contains little or no oxygen for short periods of time to feed on bloodworms.

Yellow Perch World Record is 4lbs 3oz - Bordentown, NJ

White Perch World Record is 4lbs 12oz - Messalonskee Lake, ME


Freshwater Drum

Aplodinotus grunniens

This species is the only freshwater member of the Sciaenide family and has the widest distribution of any freshwater species in the US and Canada. It is harvested commercially and is a great sport fish. This fish makes a drumming sound by vibrating the muscles attached to the swim bladder. This fish also has 'earstones' or stone like growths that are found in the inner ear to help the fish keep it's balance. These 'earstones' are sometimes kept by fishermen as good luck charms.

The Freshwater Drum World Record is 54lbs 8oz - Nickajack Lake, TN


Striped Bass

Morone saxatilus

This member of the temperate bass family has been experiencing a decline in population in certain areas due to pollution. It is most commonly found in rivers. Due to it's large size and it's ability to make massive runs when hooked, it is a very popular sport fish. This fish is anadromous meaning it can live in fresh or salt water. It has been widely introduced outside it's natural range.

Striped Bass World Record is 67lbs 1oz. - Colorado River, AZ

Land Locked Striped Bass World Record is 67lbs 8oz. - O'Neill Forebay, San Luis, CA, AZ

Hybrid Striped Bass (aka Whiterock Bass) World Record is 27lbs 5oz. - Geers Ferry Lake, AK


White Bass

Morone chrysops

This fish feeds mostly by site and is usually found in open water. It is also a common forage fish and is often used as a food source by other larger species.

White Bass World Record is 6lbs 13oz. - Lake Orange, VA


Yellow Bass

Morone mississippiensis

This member of the temperate bass family will make spawning runs up streams during the spring. It is often found in open water and near the surface but can also be found near the bottom at times. This species is a popular game fish even though it does not grown as large as other game fish species.

Yellow Bass World Record is 2lbs 9oz Duck River, TN

Hybrid Yellow Bass World Record is 3lbs 5oz Big Cypress Bayou, TX


Gizzard Shad

Dorosoma cepedianum

Although the Gizzard Shad is a primary forage fish for larger species, it has no commercial value. It is found in fresh and salt water and is a member of the Herring family.

Gizzard Shad World Record is 4lbs 6oz Lake Michigan, IN


Threadfin Shad

Dorosoma petenense

Although the Threadfin Shad is a primary forage fish for larger species, it has no commercial value. It is found in fresh and salt water and is a member of the Herring family.



Lepomis macrochirus

Because of it's popularity, the Bluegill has been widely introduced throughout the US and Canada. It is the most popular US sport fish and the most common member of the sunfish family. Bluegill spawn in water between 67 and 80 degrees.

Bluegill World Record is 4lbs 12oz. - Ketona Lake, AL


Green Sunfish

Lepomis cyanellus

This member of the sunfish family is very tolerant of a wide range of conditions and is very common throughout the US.

Green Sunfish World Record is 2lbs 2oz. - Stockton Lake, MO  &   Cherokee Co, Pit, KS


Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid Sunfish World Record is 2lbs 10oz. - Farm Pond, KS


Redear Sunfish

Lepomis microlophus

This fish is also known as a 'shellcracker' because it has molar like teeth that it uses to crush snails.

Redear Sunfish World Record is 5lbs 7.5oz  - Diversion Canal, CS



Lepomis gulosus

This member of the sunfish family spends most of it's time in dense vegetation hiding from predators. Because it usually does not grow very large, it is not a popular sport fish.

Warmouth World Record is 2lbs 7oz Yellow River, FL - Guess Lake, Holt, FL


Black Crappie

Promoxis nigromaculatus

This member of the sunfish family prefers cleaner water and is less common than the White Crappie. It is very popular as a sport fish and feeds often. These fish spawn in water between 64 and 68 degrees. Crappie have mouths like paper so care must be taken when fighting them.

Black Crappie World Record is 6lbs  - Westwego Canal, LA


White Crappie

Promoxis annularis

A very common and popular sport fish.

White Crappie World Record is 5lbs 3oz. - Enid Dam, MS



Steelhead are related to Rainbow Trout but grow much larger. They can see the full spectrum that humans can plus part of the UV and IR Spectrums. Their sense of smell also rivals that of a bloodhound. Steelhead relate to the bottom and do not feed much when they move into rivers and creeks to spawn.


One of the most common freshwater fishing baits. Believe it or not, a night crawler has 5 hearts. No wonder fish love them so much! 


Alphabetical Listing of Freshwater World Records

Species Lbs-Oz Body of Water Record Holder Date
Barramundi 83-7 N. Queensland, Australia David Powell Sept. 23, 1999
Bass, Guadalupe 3-11 Lake Travis, TX Allen Christenson Jr. Sept. 25, 1983
Bass, largemouth 22-4 Montgomery Lake, GA George W. Perry June 2, 1932
Bass, redeye 8-12 Apalachicola River, FL Carl W. Davis Jan. 28, 1995
Bass, Roanoke 1-5 Nottoway River, VA Tom Elkins Nov. 11, 1991
Bass, rock 3-0 York River, Ontario Peter Gulgin Aug. 1, 1974
Bass, smallmouth 11-15 Dale Hollow, TN
Bass, spotted 9-9 Pine Flat Lake, CA Kirk Sakamoto Oct. 12, 1996

Striped Bass

67-1 Colorado River, AZ
Bass, striped (landlocked) 67-8 O'Neill Forebay, San Luis, CA Hank Ferguson May 7, 1992
Bass, Suwannee 3-14 Suwannee River, FL Ronnie Everett Mar. 2, 1985
Bass, white 6-13 Lake Orange, VA Ronald L. Sprouse July 31, 1989
Bass, whiterock 27-5 Greers Ferry Lake, AR Jerald C. Shaum Apr. 24, 1997
Bass, yellow 2-9 Duck River, TN John T. Chappell Feb. 27, 1998
Bass, yellow (hybrid) 3-5 Big Cypress Bayou, TX Patrick Collin Myers Mar. 27, 1991
Bluegill 4-12 Ketona Lake, AL T. S. Hudson Apr. 9, 1950
Bowfin 21-8 Florence, SC Robert L. Harmon Jan. 29, 1980
Buffalo, bigmouth 70-5 Bussey Brake, Bastrop, LA Delbert Sisk Apr. 21, 1980
Buffalo, black 63-6 Mississippi River, IA
Percy Priest, TN
Jim Winters
Aug. 14, 1999
Buffalo, smallmouth 88 Lake Wylie, NC
Bullhead, black 7-7 Mill Pond, NY Kevin Kelly Aug. 25, 1993
Bullhead, brown 6-1 Waterford, NY Bobby Triplett Apr. 26, 1998
Bullhead, yellow 4-4 Mormon Lake, AZ Emily Williams May 11, 1984
Burbot 22-8 Lake Athapapuskow, Manitoba, Canada Vaughan Kshywiecki April 2, 1994
Carp, bighead 20-0 Mentro, MO Rick Hayden July 26, 1999
Carp, black 40-12 Chiba, Japan Kenichi Hosoi Apr. 1, 2000
Carp, common 75-11 St. Cassien, France Leo van der Gugten May 21, 1987
Carp, crucian 5-1 Kalterersee, Italy Jorg Marquand July 16, 1997
Catfish, blue 124-0 Mississippi River, Alton, IL Tim Pruitt *This fish was kept alive after capture and will be released at a later date. May 21, 2005
Catfish, channel 58-0 Santee-Cooper Res., SC W. B. Whaley July 7, 1964
Catfish, flathead 123-9 Elk City Reservoir, KS Ken Paulie Mar. 14, 1998
Catfish, flatwhiskered 9-4 Rio Paraquai, Brazil Cavour Pieranti Sept. 11, 1996
Catfish, gilded 85-8 Amazon River, Brazil Gilberto Fernandes Nov. 15, 1986
Catfish, redtail 97-7 Amazon River, Brazil Gilberto Fernandes July 16, 1988
Catfish, sharptoothed 79-5 Orange River, South Africa Hennie Moller Dec. 5, 1992
Catfish, white 21-8 East Lyme, CT Thomas Urquahart Apr. 22, 2001
Char, Arctic 32-9 Tree River, Canada Jeffery Ward July 30, 1981
Crappie, black 6-0 Westwego Canal, LA
Crappie, white 5-3 Enid Dam, MS Fred L. Bright July 31, 1957
Dolly Varden 19-4 Unnamed River, AK Gary D. Ordway Sept. 4, 1998
Dorado 51-5 Corrientes, Argentina Armando Giudice Sept. 27, 1984
Drum, freshwater 54-8 Nickajack Lake, TN Benny E. Hull Apr. 20, 1972
Gar, alligator 279-0 Rio Grande, TX Bill Valverde Dec. 2, 1951
Gar, Florida 15-14 Flagler Beach, FL Randy Michael Carmean Oct. 3, 1999
Gar, longnose 50-5 Trinity River, TX Townsend Miller July 30, 1954
Gar, shortnose 5-12 Rend Lake, IL Donna K. Willmart July 16, 1995
Gar, spotted 9-12 Lake Mexia, TX Rick Rivard Apr. 7, 1994
Goldfish 6-10 Lake Hodges, CA Florentino M. Abena Apr. 17, 1996
Grayling, Arctic 5-15 Katseyedie River, N.W.T. Jeanne P. Branson Aug. 16, 1967
Inconnu 53-0 Pah River, AK Lawrence E. Hudnall Aug. 20, 1986
Kokanee 9-6 Okanagan Lake, Brit. Columbia Norm Kuhn June 18, 1988
Muskellunge 69-11 Chippewa Flowage, WI
Muskellunge, tiger 51-3 Lac Vieux-Desert, WI-MI John A. Knobla July 16, 1919
Peacock, butterfly 10-8 Bolivar State, Brazil Antonio Campa G. Jan. 6, 2000
Peacock, speckled 27-0 Rio Negro, Brazil Gerald (Doc) Lawson Dec. 4, 1994
Perch, Nile 230-0 Lake Nasser, Egypt William Toth Dec. 20, 2000
Perch, white 4-12 Messalonskee Lake, ME Mrs. Earl Small June 4, 1949
Perch, yellow 4-3 Bordentown, NJ Dr. C. C. Abbot May, 1865
Pickerel, chain 9-6 Homerville, GA Baxley McQuaig Jr. Feb. 17, 1961
Pickerel, grass 1-0 Dewart Lake, IN Mike Berg June 9, 1990
Pickerel, redfin 2-4 St. Pauls, NC Edward C. Davis June 27, 1997
Pike, northern 55-1 Lake of Grefeern, Germany Lothar Louis Oct. 16, 1986
Redhorse, greater 9-3 Salmon River, Pulaski, NY Jason Wilson May 11, 1985
Redhorse, silver 11-7 Plum Creek, WI Neal D. G. Long May 29, 1985
Salmon, Atlantic 79-2 Tana River, Norway Henrik Henriksen 1928
Salmon, chinook 97-4 Kenai River, AK Les Anderson May 17, 1985
Salmon, chum 35-0 Edye Pass, Brit. Columbia Todd Johansson July 11, 1995
Salmon, coho 33-4 Salmon River, Pulaski, NY Jerry Lifton Sept. 27, 1989
Salmon, pink 13-1 St. Mary's River, Ontario Ray Higaki Sept. 23, 1992
Salmon, sockeye 15-3 Kenai River, AK Stan Roach Aug. 9, 1987
Sauger 8-12 Lake Sakakawea, ND Mike Fischer Oct. 6, 1971
Sauger-Walleye Hybrid 15-10 Ft. Peck Reservoir, MT
Shad, American 11-4 Conn. River, S. Hadley, MA Bob Thibodo May 19, 1986
Shad, gizzard 4-6 Lake Michigan, IN Mike Berg Mar. 2, 1996
Sturgeon, lake 168-0 Georgian Bay, Canada Edward Paszkowski May 29, 1982
Sturgeon, white 468-0 Benicia, CA Joey Pallotta 3rd July 9, 1983
Sunfish, Green 2-2 Stockton Lake, MO  &   Cherokee Co, Pit, KS

Sunfish, Hybrid

2-10 Farm Pond, KS
Sunfish, Redear 5-7 Diversion Canal, CS
Tigerfish, giant 97-0 Zaire River, Kinshasa, Zaire Raymond Houtmans July 9, 1988
Tilapia 6-5 Lake Arsenal, Costa Rica Marvin C. Smith Feb. 10, 1995
Trout, Apache 5-3 White Mountain, AZ John Baldwin May 29, 1991
Trout, brook 14-8 Nipigon River, Ontario Dr. W. J. Cook July, 1916
Trout, brown 40-4 Little Red River, AR Rip Collins May 9, 1992
Trout, bull 32-0 Lake Pond Orielle, ID N. L. Higgins Oct. 27, 1949
Trout, cutthroat 41-0 Pyramid Lake, NV John Skimmerhorn Dec., 1925
Trout, golden 11-0 Cooks Lake, WY Charles S. Reed Aug. 5, 1948
Trout, lake 72-0 Great Bear Lake, N.W.T. Lloyd E. Bull Aug. 19, 1995
Trout, rainbow 42-2 Bell Island, AK David Robert White June 22, 1970
Trout, tiger 20-13 Lake Michigan, WI Peter M. Friedland Aug. 12, 1978
Walleye 25-0 Old Hickory Lake, TN Mabry Harper Aug. 2, 1960
Warmouth 2-7 Guess Lake, Holt, FL Tony D. Dempsey Oct. 19, 1985
Whitefish, lake 14-6 Meaford, Ontario Dennis M. Laycock May 21, 1984
Whitefish, mountain 5-8 Elbow River, Alberta Randy G. Woo Aug. 1, 1995
Whitefish, round 6-0 Putahow River, Manitoba Allan J. Ristori June 14, 1984
Zander 25-2 Trosa, Sweden Harry Lee Tennison June 12, 1986

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