Two new state fishing records were set over the course of one weekend in New York recently.
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. Walleye are found in every major watershed and are considered a prized gamefish, regarded as one of the best tasting freshwater fish found in the state.
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.
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.
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.
For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call (518) 402-8891 or email [email protected]
Photos of Brian Hartman with the 18 lb. 2 oz. walleye he caught from the St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence County on May 5, 2018; and William Wightman with the 4 lb. 1 oz. black crappie he caught from Lake Flavia, Cattaraugus County on May 6, 2018, provided by DEC.