Skip to main content Skip to main content

First Cast on First Trip: New State-Record Paddlefish by 7 Pounds

First Cast on First Trip: New State-Record Paddlefish by 7 Pounds
Larry Morphew of Yale snagged this paddlefish in the Arkansas River above Lake Keystone on April 29, 2018. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has certified it as the new rod-and-reel state record at 132 pounds, 8 ounces. (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation)

state-record paddlefish
Larry Morphew of Yale snagged this paddlefish in the Arkansas River above Lake Keystone on April 29, 2018. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has certified it as the new rod-and-reel state record at 132 pounds, 8 ounces. (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation)

A new rod-and-reel state-record paddlefish came during an angler's first trip targeting the Oklahoma monster fish.

Larry Morphew's decision to give paddlefish snagging a try has placed him in the Oklahoma fishing record book.

The 132-pound, 8-ounce paddlefish he snagged on the Arkansas River on April 29 has been certified as the newest rod-and-reel state record and is 7-1 heavier than the previous mark, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.


The biggest caught paddlefish on record in Oklahoma is the 134-pounder caught by Charles Ham on a trotline last August, also on the Arkansas River.


>>More about Paddlefish


The state wildlife agency said Morphew's catch came during his paddlefish trip, was his first caught paddlefish, and was snagged on his first cast of the day. It was checked and weighed by North Central Region Fisheries Supervisor Bill Wentroth, and then released back into the Arkansas River near Blackburn.

The previous rod-and-reel state-record paddlefish (125-7) was caught in the Arkansas River in April 2011 by Aaron Stone of Pawhuska.

According to Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation:

Nationally, paddlefish range from Louisiana to Montana. But Oklahoma's paddlefish resource wasn't always as robust as it is today.

In 1992, fisheries biologists began an effort to re-introduce paddlefish to state waters where they had become locally eradicated, using hatchery-raised fish. This allowed self-sustaining populations to become established in many areas. In February 2008, the Wildlife Department opened the Paddlefish Research Center (PRC) near Miami, Okla. The center operates in March and April each year to collect important biological data, process paddlefish fillets for anglers and salvage paddlefish eggs.

Each fish is examined to gather details about the health of the paddlefish population. Then eggs are harvested from the female fish, processed into caviar, and sold in world markets. Caviar proceeds are used to fund continued paddlefish research and improve angler access, along with other fish and wildlife conservation activities.

This model program allows biologists to get scientific information they need to make sound management decisions, provides anglers with the meat from their fish, and creates revenue from the salvaged eggs to pay for continued management of the resource. It is a win-win scenario for anglers and for paddlefish.

To fish for state-record paddlefish in Oklahoma, anglers must possess a valid fishing license and a free ODWC paddlefish permit. With a daily limit of one, each permit holder can tag and legally retain two paddlefish per license year (Other regulations apply — see the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's 2017-18 Fishing Regulations book for details including how to report each fish tagged under the state's E-Check reporting system.)

With a naturally reproducing population of the fish, paddlefish are expanding their range in state waters. In fact, the ODWC says netting surveys over the past year or two indicate a "remarkable number of smaller paddlefish in state waters, so biologists are expecting a surge in fish numbers in the coming years."

Click Here to Subscribe

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Beyond the Bait: Use Spinnerbaits for Aggressive Smallmouth

Beyond the Bait: Use Spinnerbaits for Aggressive Smallmouth

If you're looking for a fun way to find aggressive smallmouths, throw a spinnerbait. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll look at how quickly—and effectively—spinnerbaits can cover water, as well as go over the factors in choosing blade style and bait color to produce smashing smallmouth strikes.

Crash Course: How to Fish Swim Jigs for Bass in Heavy Cover

Crash Course: How to Fish Swim Jigs for Bass in Heavy Cover

The swim jig is a big-bass lure in a small package; learn how to fish it now.

Beyond the Bait: How to Find Smallmouth - Reading the Water

Beyond the Bait: How to Find Smallmouth - Reading the Water

In order to catch smallmouths, you must first find smallmouths. That often comes down to knowing what type of water the fish prefer depending on the season, as well as understanding how they relate to structure. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll cover these topics in order to help you locate more fish.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now