Paddlefish are a popular target in the Midwest and Northern United States, as they typically live a long time and grow to extremely large sizes. As a result, you'll occasionally hear about anglers reeling in big catches. Recently, however, an angler in South Dakota caught a paddlefish that represents a whole new ball game for the species.
The Star Tribune reports that Bill Harmon caught a 127-pound, 9-ounce paddle fish in Lake Francisc Case on May 7, which beat a record that had stood for 35 years when another angler caught a 120-pound specimen. Harmon's catch is seen as a victory not just for the angler, but for the species, which had in recent years seen its numbers dwindle. A stocking program was instituted in the early 90's, which led to the replenishment of paddlefish populations at Lake Francis Case.
"One of the original goals of the paddlefish stocking program was to initiate a sport fishery for this species," Jason Sorensen, a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks' fisheries biologist, told the source. "Paddlefish are a long-lived species and the Lake Francis Case population has some very old fish. There is potential for anglers to harvest large paddlefish and Bills' recent catch is proof of that."
If you want to catch large paddlefish like the one Harmon pulled in, you're going to need heavy gauge fishing line, as well as a large capacity reel for deeper parts of the lake. We'd also recommend investing in a good fishfinder from Garmin, Raymarine or Furuno, which will help locate the biggest groupings and schools. You can find the latest fishfinder technology at ePal, along with other fishing and navigation equipment that will make you a more successful angler!