Five years after the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation started keeping lake records for 13 fish species, anglers still continue to set records.
“We still get about 60 (lake records) a year,” said Greg Summers of the state Wildlife Department.
And more could be set in coming weeks. More lake records have been caught in April than any other month, Summers said.
Before 2008, the state Wildlife Department kept state fishing records but never lake records.
“Anglers had been coming to us for years, saying that they wanted a lake records program,” Summers said. “We were hoping it would be this popular. We invested a lot of time and energy in it.
“What surprised me was the willingness for the vendors to volunteer as record keepers. If we didn't have anybody doing that, we wouldn't have much of a program.”
On the Wildlife Department's website, www.wildlifedepartment.com, is a list of local businesses around lakes that serve as record keepers and what is required by anglers to establish a lake record.
When the lake records program began, the Wildlife Department started from scratch. Only previous state records were counted as lake records.
The Wildlife Department still gets requests from anglers to certify fish caught before 2008 as lake records, Summers said.
“We knew that was going to come up when we started the program, but we had to start somewhere,” he said. “We are not going to take somebody's word for it.”
The Wildlife Department also occasionally receives a complaint about someone who caught a lake record, actually catching the fish somewhere else, he said.
“There is nothing we can do about that,” he said.
Oklahoma lake records by the numbers
381 – Number of lake fishing records established since 2008
13 – Fish species in the lake records program
52 – Lakes that have established at least one record
130 – Number of times a fish wasn't a lake record
99 – Number of times a largemouth bass record has been set, more than any other species
119 – Number of times an angler released a lake record fish after having it weighed
25 – The number of anglers from Oklahoma City who have caught lake records, more than any other city
305 – The number of lake record fish caught on a bait casting rod and reel, the most common method
61 – Lake record fish caught on a Falcon rod, the most common brand
78 – Lake record fish caught on an Abu Garcia reel, the most common brand