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Bass Fishing Largemouth Bass Montana

19-Year-Old Largemouth Bass Caught in Montana, Released

by Game & Fish Staff   |  August 11th, 2011 6

KALISPELL – In 1992, a gallon of gas cost $1.05 and a new car to go with that fuel would set you back $17,000. It’s also about the time the bass Garrett Frost caught in Montana came to be according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park’s Biologist Mark Deleray, making it the oldest largemouth bass ever reported in Montana.

Photo courtesy of Montana FWP

The 10-year-old Frost was fishing with his father Tyler and his two brothers in Rose Creek Slough when the young angler — standing at the bow of their boat — hooked a 20-inch, 3.5-pound bass using a plastic worm. After catching the fish (and announcing that it was a 5 pounder to everyone aboard) a small red floy tag was noticed that was numbered 5637. Frost pulled the tag, weighed and released the fish, and got back to fishing with his family.

Jon Cavigli keeps a database for the Montana FWP fisheries and after running the tag number, he discovered the last time the bass came up for a gulp of mountain air was October 3, 1997, when Phil Rivard caught and tagged the fish prior to releasing it back into Fennon Slough.

The fish at the time measured 14.2 inches and weighed 1.5 pounds. By using the age-growth database, Deleray estimates the fish was probably 5 years old when tagged, providing an age estimate of 19 years of age.

Largemouth bass in Montana don’t grow to behemoth sizes like they do in other parts of the country — the state record bucketmouth is 8.8 pounds. Lying at the northern edge of the species’ range, the cool waters in Montana’s lakes and rivers allow for slower growth and longer life.

  • Bob

    It's too bad they didn't say how far the fish had gone since it had been caught the first time. I did notice that the first angler caught it in a different slough than the young boy.

  • admin

    Bob – the bass actually didn't travel far at all. Take a look at this map: The "A" dot is Rose Creek Slough. Just to the south is Fennel Creek Slough where the fish was first caught in 1997.

  • Tommy McCook

    Might be a good idea to provide tags to the general public since many of us practice catch and release!

  • John H. Walak

    This is a great story! I hope the bass in PA aren't that old because there aren't many that size left in the Susquehanna River. The birds that eat the smaller bass and the fishermen who were able keep the females they caught in spawning season over the past 20-30 years and pollution or non-pollution have wiped out our once great fishery. I think they opened bass season year round when I was 18 or 20. I'm now 47 almost 48. They closed the season for keeping any bass this year and bass fishing tournaments have all kind of rules about catch and release. I'm just glad my grandfather and my great uncle aren't alive to see what has happened. They told me it would. My opinion is that the birds and pollution or non-pollution have taken their toll but it was the taking of trophy female pregnant bass and or catching and releasing the females that caused stress to the nesting females that put us where we are today. If the millions and milions of fish eggs that were consumed or wasted by fishermen every year were still being laid and hatched in the river. The river could be made of coffee and the bass would still survive. You could catch bass on a bare hook that's how many we had. When they opened the season year round the fishermen were able to drag lures through the bass nest's and the female's usually full of eggs would attack anything. I'll never forget how many trophy lunker's I saw taken after the season was lifted. Most fisherman didn't eat the row they just wanted the trophy… To win the contest… Please fight to protect your fishery. My family has a lot of memories of our fishing the Susquehanna. Make the memories while you can.

  • george dodds aka fis

    what a joy for the boy good catch may fishing george wishes u many more good catches

  • Deana Copeland

    Wow! That's a huge fish! I can't believe a young child got it. It made me wanna but used boats for sale in Perth and go boating and fishing with my family too.

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