The angler was fishing for channel catfish on Lake Champlain when the state record struck.
The third New York state fishing record of the year — a catch that broke a 19-year-old record by more than a pound — was recently reported.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commission reported that Michael Gatus of Hoosick Falls broke the state record for longnose gar with a 14-pound, 10-ounce fish on Aug. 18 at Lake Champlain.
Gatus caught the record using chuck bait, breaking the old mark set in 1999. He was fishing for channel catfish in Champlain’s South Bay when he caught the state record.
The gar joins William Wightman’s 4-1 black crappie (May 6, Lake Flavia) and Brian Hartman’s 18-2 walleye (May 5, St. Lawrence River) as new state records set this year.
“Fishing is better than ever in New York State, and Mr. Gatus’ noteworthy catch is a great example of the world-class angling opportunities our state has to offer,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. “Whether it’s bass, trout, or lesser-known species like longnose gar, New York has something for everyone when it comes to fishing.”
The prehistoric longnose gar are commonly found in shallow weedy areas and are often found swimming near the water’s surface. In New York, longnose gar are found primarily in the St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, Lake Champlain, eastern Lake Ontario, and the larger tributaries to these waters.
Photos of state-record fish can be found on the New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page of DEC’s website.
For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, go to DEC’s website. Program details and an official entry form can also be found in DEC’s current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide.