The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department announced that two fish caught in 2016 were certified as new state records, making them the 14th and 15th state records that have been set for individual species of fish since 2010.
John Konya of Bradford caught a new record bluegill in August while fishing with a nightcrawler and silver spinner on Miller Pond in West Fairlee. The fish weighed 1.98 pounds, measured 12.25 inches long and had a girth of 12.5 inches. Konya’s bluegill beat the previous record bluegill which was caught in Lake Champlain in 2008 and weighed 1.93 pounds.
In September, New York angler Joseph Whalen Jr. landed the new Vermont record freshwater drum while fishing in the mid-lake area of Lake Champlain. The drum weighed 25.54 pounds, measured 34.5 inches in length and was 26.5 inches around at its widest point.
Interestingly, Whalen’s daughter Amelia caught the current New York state record freshwater drum in 2016. That fish, also caught in Lake Champlain, weighed in at 29.87 pounds and measured 36.5 inches in length.
“We saw some incredible fish in 2016, most notably the new record bluegill and freshwater drum,” said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “The diversity of record fish we’re seeing each year really speaks to both the variety and quality of sport fish that are present in Vermont in healthy populations. Vermont truly is an anglers’ paradise that is matched by very few locations elsewhere.”
Good also pointed to the two record freshwater drum caught by the Whalen’s from Lake Champlain as a highlight from 2016 for a variety of reasons.
“These fish prove that anglers can land trophy-size fish by thinking outside the box and maybe targeting some of the lesser-known species of fish we have here in Vermont,” said Good. “I can’t think of any other state that has seen as many new state records for different species of fish in recent years as we have here. New records set for 15 different species in just six years is amazing. These catches are creating a great deal of excitement around Vermont fishing, and anglers are expanding their fishing pursuits as a result.
“What’s equally as impressive to see is a family making fishing one of their favorite activities. Fishing and enjoying Vermont’s great outdoors with family and friends is a truly rewarding pastime that we hope everyone can experience at some point in their life.”
To learn more about fishing in Vermont or to purchase a fishing license, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.