It’s common for state fishing records to be broken by anglers seeking a different species.
Kentucky angler Clay Smith had trout on his mind when he was trolling a crankbait on the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam earlier this summer.
Instead, the Lexington angler boated an 8-pound, 8.8-ounce saugeye — a hybrid of a walleye and a sauger — that set a Kentucky record. The previous record (6-13) was set only weeks earlier.
“I hooked it and thought it was an extremely large trout or a walleye,” Smith said in a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife news release. “When I got it in the boat, I truly thought it was a walleye. My fishing buddy thought it was a sauger.”
But Smith, who caught the fish on a pink and white Berkley Flicker Shad crankbait on May 21, didn’t find out it was a saugeye until much later. According to the Kentucky agency, he had the fish weighed on a certified scale, had three witnesses as need for state-record certification, then took it home. He said he wrapped it in a wet towel and put it in the freezer as he contemplated what to do next.
It was July 17 when Smith asked the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for help, and had the fish identified and certified in the department’s headquarters in Frankfort.
It is rare to catch a saugeye in the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam, and even rarer for Kentucky anglers to catch two state record saugeye in the same month.
For more information on state record fish, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website.