Country music star and avid outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Tishomingo landed a lake record paddlefish April 13 when he reeled in a 40 lb. fish from below the Lake Hudson dam.
The fish measured 41 inches in length and was caught by way of snagging — the most common approach to catching “spoonbills.” Paddlefish do not strike lures or live bait but instead feed on tiny organisms called plankton.
“I have been an outdoorsman my whole life and I love to hunt and fish,” Shelton, 33, said. “I have been fishing as long as I can remember, and catching a paddlefish is the most exciting kind of fishing I have ever experienced.”
Shelton’s lake record comes just as the paddlefish angling in northeast Oklahoma is peaking. The best time to fish for paddlefish is during the spring (usually late March to mid-April) when the fish move up from reservoirs into rivers for their annual spawning run. The fish travel upstream and become concentrated, making it easier for anglers to locate good fishing spots.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s lake record fish program was initiated in 2008 to recognize big fish from certain lakes and the anglers who catch them.
The program has grown from about a dozen lakes at its inception to more than 40 lakes today. So anglers all over the state can go fishing just for leisure, but they can also go with a sense of competitive drive in hopes of putting their name in a record book.
Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass. Minimum weights are set for each species and are detailed on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/.
Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/.
Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department’s Web site at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/.
An easily-operated search feature is available on the Web site that allows those interested to view a wealth of lake record fish information, ranging from the size of record fish caught to what kind of bait or rod and reel was used to catch them.
All past and current state record fish are registered in the lake record fish program as records for their respective lakes.
For more information about the lake record fish program, or for more on bass fishing in Oklahoma, log on to http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/.