State Record Fish Part 2

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2019



If you are an angler, catching a state record fish is the ultimate achievement. The pride and the satisfaction in knowing that you caught a fish bigger than anyone else could have caught makes all of the bleak days of fishing worthwhile.

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There are still places in Tennessee that hold record-setting fish, and for whatever reason, Tennessee is experiencing a boom in record-breakers in the last few years.

In February and March of this year, for example, the yellow perch record fell when Jeremy Lorenz caught a 2 pound, 5 ounce yellow perch from Oconee Reservoir, and Daniel Taylor broke the quillback carpsucker record by catching a 6 pound, 5 ounce fish from South Holston Lake.

Since 2008, 32 state records have fallen and most of these records were caught by everyday men and women who are fishing during the right time and in the right place.

Common sense tells all of us that there should be more record-setting fish out there waiting to be caught by anyone.

Though a record fish may come from any body of water, there are some waters that are more likely to produce record-setting fish than others.

Here are the top five places in Tennessee where a record fish could be caught based on the lake’s history, the lake’s ability to maintain big fish and the lake’s management for big fish.

1.Watauga Lake (lake trout): In 2008 angler Jack Forbes caught a 22 pounds 2 ounces lake trout from Watauga and got his name in the record books. It could happen again.

Watauga Lake is a deep lake and it is a perfect lake to maintain a health population of lake trout. The deepest part of the lake is at the dam at 265 feet deep, and during the hot months of summer, the lake trout stay deep where they can find the perfect water temperature to feed.

You can bet a record setting fish is down there, getting fatter and fatter, and they can be caught. Just find the right depth and water temperature and present a bait naturally to them.

2. Fall Creek Falls State Park Lake (bluegill): In 1977 Thelma Grissom caught a three-pound bluegill from the lake.

This record was tied in 1987 when a three pounder was caught from a farm pond, but my money is on Fall Creek Falls Lake for the next record-setter.

I have fished this lake and caught the largest bluegill in my life from these waters. It was larger than my hand. This is a special lake because no motorized boat is allowed and it is not heavily fished.

The lake has a healthy population of largemouth bass and catfish and these large bluegills make perfect food to fatten up the predator fish.

3. Barkley Reservoir (long nose, short nose and spotted gar): Barkley Reservoir gave up two gar records in a six-week period in 2014.

A six-pound short nose and a 10-pound spotted gar were both caught during this six-weeks and the lake also holds the longnose gar record when a 38-pound fish was caught from this body of water in 2002.

To catch this fish, you have to have prey fish and Barkley is filled with prey fish. I expect this record to fall within the next few years.

4. Farm pond or lake (almost any species of fish): Finally, if you really want to have the best chance of catching a record-breaking fish, fish a farm pond or lake.

Currently six of the state records came from private ponds or lakes, including the world record black crappie that was caught in 2018 and the state record tying bluegill was caught in 1982 from a farm pond.

Many landowners will give you permission to fish their ponds, but be willing to do what is necessary to fish that pond, especially if you think it could hold a record fish.

5. Tailwaters: the next state record trout could easily come from one of east Tennessee’s tailwaters. These rivers that come from the bottom of an upstream lake are usually very cold and provide the perfect habitat for huge trout.

Fish these waters when they are generating and use large plugs for lures.

There are state records swimming in places you least expect in Tennessee. Stay on the water and have patients because he is down there. You can take it to the record books.