Lifelong Oklahoma angler James Wesley Jones, Jr. of Canton said he loves fishing because it is a relaxing activity, but there was likely no relaxing going on April 19 when he landed a 23-pound, 3-ounce striped bass hybrid from Canton Lake. The huge fish qualifies as a lake record for Canton and falls only about an ounce shy of taking the state record spot as well, which is held by Paul Hollister at 23-pound, 4-ounce fish caught April 1, 1997, at Altus-Lugert Lake.


Lifelong Oklahoma angler James Wesley Jones, Jr. of Canton said he loves fishing because it is a relaxing activity, but there was likely no relaxing going on April 19 when he landed a 23-pound, 3-ounce striped bass hybrid from Canton Lake. The huge fish qualifies as a lake record for Canton and falls only about an ounce shy of taking the state record spot as well, which is held by Paul Hollister at 23-pound, 4-ounce fish caught April 1, 1997, at Altus-Lugert Lake.

Jones caught his fish in the evening using a 1-ounce rattletrap. Though the hybrid fell short of the state record, it reminds anglers that if they catch a potential state record fish, they should contact an employee of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for procedures on certifying state records. Lake record fish are weighed on scales through lake record keepers registered with the Wildlife Department, but the weighing of state records must be done on certified scales with a witness from the Wildlife Department present.

Jones said the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's new Lake Record Fish Program does more than just recognize fish, but that it also encourages the sport of fishing. Before the program was in place, his near state record fish could have gone overlooked by anglers across the state, but the recognition his fish received through the Lake Record Fish Program reminds anglers of the potential that Oklahoma's lakes hold for producing monster-sized fish.

Other recent lake records include a 4.8-pound smallmouth bass caught by Derek Thurman of Collinsville. His fish went down as a record smallmouth for Skiatook Lake, but that record was broken just days later on April 5 when angler Jim Horn of Cleveland landed a 6.6-pound smallmouth bass from Skiatook using a bait casting rod and reel set up with a jig.

Lakes included in the program include Arbuckle, Broken Bow, Canton, Eufaula, Fort Cobb, Grand, Kaw, Keystone, Sardis, Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Thunderbird.

Species eligible for spots in the lake records book include blue, channel and flathead catfish and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in addition to crappie, paddlefish, striped bass, striped bass hybrids, sunfish (combined) walleye/saugeye and white bass. Minimum weights are set for each species are detailed on the Wildlife Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

Anglers who catch a potential record from a participating lake should contact designated business locations around the lake that are enrolled as lake record keepers. A listing of official lake record keepers is available on www.wildlifedepartment.com.

Once it has been determined that an angler has landed a record fish, the media is notified and the public will be able to view information about the catch on the Wildlife Department's web site.

All past and current state record fish are registered in the Lake Record Fish Program as records for their respective lakes. To see the complete database of all lake record fish caught, or to learn more about the Lake Record Fish program, log on www.wildlifedepartment.