November 15, 2023
For years, it was a bit of a conundrum for anglers in Idaho, where species like wild steelhead, sturgeon and bull trout couldn't be harvested. With the inability to keep such fish, that meant that there was no legal recourse for a lucky angler catching one of those species to pursue a state record with the Idaho Fish and Game. But that changed in 2016 when the agency initiated a length-based catch-and-release records program.
Thanks to that program, the Gem State has a new catch-and-release record for steelhead after Kyriacos Panayiotu ventured to the state's legendary steelhead stream, the Clearwater River. Using a two-handed spey rod, Panayiotu. A McCall, Idaho resident, had the full 120-plus feet of spey line out when the fly started swinging in the water column.
"At around 30 degrees of a swing, this beautiful wild steelhead buck boiled to the surface and grabbed the fly with authority," said Panayiotu in an IDFG news release. "The vintage Hardy Perfect reel could do nothing in slowing down this fish. It’s something that I’ll never forget."
The wild steelhead measured 41 inches long, which proved to be a full 1.75 inches longer than Scott Turner's previous C&R record for the species. That's certainly an impressive angling feat, and one that could stand for a while, according to Clearwater Fisheries manager Joe DuPont.
"Since we have all the trapping data from Lower Granite Dam, we have a good sense of the size distribution of Idaho steelhead," he said in the IDFG news release. "In a typical year, the number of steelhead in the 40-inch range is less than one percent of the run."
Crunching those numbers even further, DuPont noted that he looked back over the data of steelhead trapped at Lower Granite Dam and found that of the 261,706 trapped, only four steelhead were actually 41 inches or larger.
Texas Voters Approve Prop 14
As the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department celebrates the Lone Star State's 100th birthday for its state parks system, the Austin-based agency got a big birthday present recently from voters after they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 14 for the Texas Constitution. That constitutional amendment creates the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, which is made from a portion of a state budget surplus and directs funds towards acquiring and developing state parks. "Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Texas State Parks thanks to the unwavering support from the Texans who voted to adopt Proposition 14," said TPWD Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., in a news release. "This historic vote confirms the value Texans place on conserving outdoor spaces for the enjoyment of all Texans."After three years at Texas Motor Speedway north of Fort Worth, Texas, officials with Ducks Unlimited have announced that they will relocate the fourth edition of the Ducks Unlimited Expo—or DUX—to the organization's Memphis, Tenn. backyard in two years for an Aug. 1-3, 2025 run at the newly renovated Renasant Convention Center. Prior to that event, DU will host a fundraising concert with country music legend Garth Brooks on Feb. 19, 2025 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.