New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that a new state record fish – the third this year – was caught in August, breaking a longstanding record for longnose gar.
Michael Gatus, of Hoosick Falls, caught a 14 lb., 10 oz., longnose gar from the South bay of Lake Champlain in Washington County on Aug. 18 using chunk bait. The catch broke the 1999 New York State record by more than 1½ pounds.
Gatus was actually fishing for channel catfish when he bested the state record.
Evolutionarily speaking, longnose gar are considered living dinosaurs. Their long, needle-like snout is filled with rows of teeth, making them unmistakable. Longnose gar are commonly found in shallow weedy areas and are often found swimming near the water’s surface. In New York, longnose gar are found primarily in the St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, Lake Champlain, eastern Lake Ontario, and the larger tributaries to these waters.
Gatus submitted details of his winning catch to 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 lapel pin commemorating the achievement. Three categories make up the program: Catch & Release, Annual Award, and State Record.
Photos of record fish can be found on the New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page of DEC’s website.
Gatus’ gar joins William Wightman’s 4 lb., 1 oz. black crappie caught from Lake Flavia, Cattaraugus County, on May 6 and Brian Hartman’s 18 lb., 2 oz. walleye caught from the St. Lawrence River on May 5 as new state records set this year.
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 (PDF, 8MB).
For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call (518) 402-8891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.