Year of the Big Fish: 5 record certification tips for your next big catch

The Chinese Zodiak says 2017 is the year of the Rooster. We say it’s the year of the Big Fish.

There was a state record smallmouth bass catch from Lake Havasu in February, a channel catfish record from Upper Lake Mary in March, and even rumors coming out of Canyon Lake of a world record largemouth bass and even a man-sized catfish (which we just helped 12 News debunk).

As far as certified catches, the list goes on with all the Big Fish of the Year entries.

Question is: if and when you catch that state record fish, or Big Fish of the Year entry, what’s the best way to get the fish weighed and certified?

Glad you asked.

Five Fish AZ record certification tips

  1. Know locations of fish weighing scales. We have a list in our regulations (bookmark pg. 42 of the 2017-18 Fishing Regulations, and see below). Anglers also might give their local grocery store a call to see if a frozen food department will weigh wild fish. If possible, get the fish weighed soon after it’s caught. Note that Kilmer’s Kounty Corner outside of Globe has since gone out of business.
    * Kilmer’s Kounty Corner outside of Globe has since gone out of business.


  2. If you caught that record fish and plan on having it weighed within 24 hours, the best way to keep it fresh and at a maximum weight is keeping it immersed in ice. Storing the fish in the refrigerator overnight also is a decent option.
  3. Freezing a fish can make the fish lose a bit of weight, but may be the best option if you can’t get to a weighing scale within a day.
  4. Catch and release records require a clear photo verifying the species and length that must be included with an entry form (pg. 42 of fishing regulations booklet). The picture must include a tape measure, ruler or other measuring device next to the fish in the photograph. Entries cannot be considered without a measuring device in the photograph.
  5. Be familiar with any special regulations at your fishery to see if a certain fish species may legally be kept, or if it would be better to submit a catch-and-release record. We have a Special Regulations map to easily help sort this out.

Time to chase tiger trout records

At Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes, try Kastmasters, small Rapalas, Panther Martin spinners, or flies for tiger trout.

Heading into the summer, it’s an excellent time to keep cool and try and catch a state record tiger trout.

On March 27, Roger Thompson of Concho caught the above catch-and-keep tiger trout Big Fish of the Year from Carnero Lake. This dandy tiger went 15.4 inches and 1.49 pounds. There are special regulations at Carnero.

In addition to Carnero, the Department has stocked tigers into Becker Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake and, for the first time, Marshall Lake.

Quarter-million extra fish

Community Fishing Program Specialist Joann Hill stocks channel catfish into Cortez Lake in Phoenix.

By now you’ve probably heard that by the end of July, the Department will have stocked an additional quarter-million fish into waters statewide. For another couple weeks, those fish are still pouring into some of your favorite honey holes. Grab a license online, 24/7, and Fish AZ.

See more about fishing in Arizona

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