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State Fishing Records Fall As March Temps Rise

Record catches reported for muskies, paddlefish, gar and more.

State Fishing Records Fall As March Temps Rise

New state record-holders (clockwise from upper left): Kyle Mullenix, (Maryland, musky, 33 pounds); Steve Hagen (Montana, Utah chub, 2.39 pounds); Rachel Harrison (Georgia, long nose gar, 31 pounds, 2 ounces); Timmy Woods (Georgia, hickory shad, 2 pounds, 10 ounces); Jim Dain (Missouri, paddlefish, 140 pounds, 10 ounces). Center: Josh Lawmaster (Missouri, bowfishing, quill back, 8 pounds, 5 ounces).

State fishing records have been falling with the rising spring temperatures, with records reported in multiple states.

From muskies to rough fish, here’s a look at the big catches:

Maryland: First Record of Year is Big Musky

Kyle Mullenix of Hagerstown, Md., broke the Maryland record for muskellunge with a 33-pound, 49-inch long record muskie on March 2 along the banks of the upper Potomac River, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources confirmed.

Mullenix, credited with the first Maryland state fishing record of 2022, is a lifelong angler who has spent decades trying to catch a muskie. Using a 7-foot spinning rod and live bait, his luck finally changed.

“He put up a good fight, but we didn’t think it was that big until it was on the bank,” Mullenix told the Maryland DNR. “Things don’t always go as planned, but now life has gotten a lot better.” 

The catch surpassed the previous Maryland state record held also by a Washington County resident, Tessa Cosens, whose catch tipped the scales at 32.5 pounds.

West Virginia: Bank Angler Hits Musky Jackpot

Lucas King of Burnsville, West Virginia, caught and released a new state record with a 51-pound, 54-inch muskellunge. He was fishing from the bank of the Little Kanawha River at a WV Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) public access site in the tailwater section of Burnsville Dam in Braxton County. The musky was caught using 6" glide bait.

Read our report of this great catch

The trophy musky eclipsed the previous WV length record of 54.0625 inches caught last year by Chase Gibson and surpassed the current weight record of 49.75 pounds previously held by Anna Marsh. The record catch was measured by WVDNR fisheries biologist, Aaron Yeager.

Missouri: Illinois Angler Breaks Paddlefish Record

Jim Dain of Pittsfield, Ill., snagged a monster 140-pound, 10-ounce paddlefish March 18 at the Lake of the Ozarks to break the Missouri state record. The record broke the previous record of 140 pounds, 9 ounces, set in 2015 on Table Rock Lake, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said in a news release.

Dain told the MDC he was on a fishing trip with his family and almost didn’t get the boat out that day because the weather kept changing.

“The forecast was calling for storms, and then it changed to no rain, so we went out, but it just kept getting colder,” Dain said. “We weren’t having much luck, but decided to fish for another hour so we took another turn. And that’s when the drag on the reel started. It felt like a tree was on the line!”


It took at least 20 minutes before the fish was in the boat. After getting back to the boat ramp, Steven Henson of Bonne Terre, who happens to hold the Missouri state record for river carpsucker, was in the area and mentioned Dain should get in touch with MDC.

“He was at the boat ramp and happened to hold a state record,” said Dain. “He’s looking at the fish and says to me, ‘Boy, I think you should get that checked out because it could be a state record.’”

Dain contacted MDC Camden County Agent Tyler Brown, who advised him to go to Tom’s Slaughterhouse in Montreal to use a certified scale that could handle weight more than 100-pounds. His paddlefish is the second state record fish caught in 2022.

“We got 16 one-gallon bags of meat out of this catch,” laughed Dain. “We’ve fried it, grilled it and made paddlefish tacos the other night. We’ll be having paddlefish for a while!”

Missouri: Bowfishing Record Falls

Josh Lawmaster of La Russell, Mo., became the first state-record holder of 2022 in Missouri after arrowing an 8-pound, 5-ounce quillback from Table Rock Lake. Lawmaster was bowfishing March 15 when he shot the fish. His current record breaks the previous record of 7 pounds, 10 ounces. set in 2015.

Lawmaster said he was out with his bowfishing team the day he shot the record.

“We were actually fishing for common carp that day when I had just come across this little dude,” Lawmaster said in a news release. “We knew it was pretty good size, but it wasn’t until the next morning we were thinking about it and decided to contact the department.”

Quillback is a non-game species that’s often confused with river carpsucker, the Missouri Department of Conservation said.

Montana: Utah Chub Record at Canyon Ferry

Steve Hagen of East Helena, Mont., reeled in a record Utah chub on March 7 from Canyon Ferry Reservoir. The fish weighed in at 2.39 pounds and measured 15.9 inches in length and 10.4 inches in girth, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said in a news release. The previous record Utah chub, caught at Canyon Ferry in 1992, weighed 1.81 pounds.

Hagen’s catch adds to the list of Montana record fish caught in the last year and a half including a walleye, a chinook salmon, a smallmouth bass, a yellow bullhead, a brown trout, a longnose sucker, and a largemouth.

Georgia: Hickory Shad Record Broken Again

In just over one year, the same river has produced two state-record hickory shad. Timmy Woods of Kite, Ga., was out fishing on the Ogeechee River this month when he became the latest record-holder.

His catch weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces, and broke the previous record of 2-3, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“The Ogeechee River is the place to be if you are targeting record hickory shad,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “The great news is that there are amazing angling opportunities all over the state and plenty of fish to catch, but who will hold the next record? Don’t let someone else do it – it is time to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”

Georgia: Coosa River Longnose Gar

Georgia anglers are on a roll. Within the last four months, three new state records have been caught, the latest a longnose gar.

Rachel Harrison of Adairsville caught a state-record 31-pound, 2-ounce longnose gar March 19 on the Coosa River near Rome. The previous record of 30-13 was caught in 2013, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“Congrats to Rachel Harrison! State records do not get broken every day, so for Georgia to have three new records in this short time span just shows you that our waters are producing great fish right now,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Who will catch the next one? It might be you – but you have to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”

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