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For Release: Monday, May 21, 2018

DEC Announces New State Records for Black Crappie and Walleye

Records Broken over One Weekend

Cattaraugus County Black Crappie Topples Old Benchmark; St. Lawrence County Walleye Shatters Former Record

Two new state fishing records were set over the course of one weekend in New York recently, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"High quality fishing opportunities abound across New York and announcing two record-breaking catches is the perfect way to kick-start the 2018 freshwater fishing season," said Commissioner Seggos. "It's remarkable that anglers broke these records back-to-back over a single weekend and from water bodies in different regions of the state. I encourage anglers to share their notable catches with DEC this year on social media and through our Angler Achievement Awards Program."

Brian Hartman of Alexandria Bay eclipsed the 2009 state record walleye by more than 1.5 pounds when he caught an 18-pound-2-ounce walleye from the St. Lawrence River on May 5 using a swimbait.

On May 6, William Wightman of South Dayton used a black marabou jig to reel in a 4-pound-1-ounce crappie from Lake Flavia in Cattaraugus County, exceeding the 1998 state record by five ounces.

Hartman's record breaking walleye in St. Lawrence County water was caught on the opening day for walleye season, which runs from the first Saturday in May through March 15. Thanks to DEC's walleye management efforts, walleye are found in every major watershed and are considered one of the most prized gamefish in New York State. These fish are also highly regarded as one of the best tasting freshwater fish.

Black crappie, also known as strawberry bass or calico bass, are found throughout the state in clear, quiet lakes, ponds, and rivers where vegetation is abundant. Spring is a popular time of year to fish for crappie, as these fish can be found in large schools in shallow water prior to spawning. Not only are crappie fun to catch, but like walleye, they're great to eat, too.

Wightman and Hartman submitted details of their winning catches as part of DEC's Angler Achievement Awards Program, which tracks state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating the achievement. Three categories make up the program: Catch & Release, Annual Award, and State Record.

Photos of the record fish can be found on the New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page of DEC's website.

For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, go to DEC's website. Program details and an official entry form can also be found in DEC's current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide (PDF, 8MB).

For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call (518) 402-8891 or email fwfish@dec.ny.gov.

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