Ladies and gents, prepare to be shaken and stirred by the groovy news of a record-breaking fish that has made quite the splash in the waters of Lake Erie. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has announced that a smallmouth bass caught in the Ontario, Canada waters of Lake Erie in November 2022 has set a new record, weighing in at a massive 10.15 pounds! Yeah baby!
This fishy feat has left the previous Ontario record, a 9.84-pound bass caught in 1984, looking as outdated as Austin Powers’ velvet suit. And that's not all! Ohio's current smallmouth bass record is a measly 9.5 pounds, making this beauty the talk of the town, or should we say, the talk of the lake.
According to ODNR, Gregg Gallagher, a groovy dude from Fremont, caught the 10.15-pound smallmouth bass while fishing in Ontario provincial waters of Lake Erie on November 3, 2022. The new Ontario record was weighed soon after the catch on a certified scale in Port Clinton, then transferred to the Division of Wildlife's Sandusky Fisheries Research Station for species identification validation and measurements.
This fish wasn't just big, baby, it was also old. The ODNR confirmed that the record-breaking bass was a 16-year-old female that was hatched in 2006, making it an even more impressive catch. But, how did they figure out its age? Well, they analyzed the otoliths, inner-ear structures that develop annuli, much like the rings on a tree.
According to ODNR, it's rare for a smallmouth bass to exceed 14 years of age, so this is a real game-changer. Smallmouth bass like to hang around rocky humps or points along island or mainland shorelines of Lake Erie, as well as offshore reefs and break walls around marinas or river mouths, according to ODNR. It's important to remember that smallmouth bass spawn in late spring, so let's keep our fingers crossed that this record-breaking female has passed on her impressive genes to her offspring, and we can expect more big fish in the future. Now, if you're as impressed with this fish as we are, you might be interested in checking out the Division of Wildlife's six state fish hatcheries. These facilities raised and stocked more than 52 million fish in 2022, ensuring that the waters of Ohio are teaming with aquatic life.
If you want to see these hatcheries in action, hatchery open houses are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various locations:
Saturday, March 25: St. Marys State Fish Hatchery, 01735 Feeder Rd, St. Marys, 45885
Saturday, April 1: Hebron State Fish Hatchery, 10517 Canal Rd SE, Hebron, 43025
Saturday, April 1: Senecaville State Fish Hatchery, 57199 Senecaville Dam Rd, Senecaville, 43780
Saturday, April 15: Castalia State Fish Hatchery, 7018 Homegardner Rd, Castalia, 44824
Saturday, April 15: Kincaid State Fish Hatchery, 7487 St. Rt. 124, Latham, 45646
Saturday, May 6: London State Fish Hatchery, 2570 Roberts Mill Rd, London, 4314