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Big Fish! Its Happened Again!

I actually knew about this the day after the fish was caught, but I was heading out of town the next day, and was waiting to hear how the anglers involved wanted to handle it.  I knew by the time I got back to the office this would be all over the internet and many have already heard about it.  But others of you have not, and I want to blog about it!

Last week we had what was potentially another hook & line state record fish caught and RELEASED in Nebraska!  This time it was a huge northern pike.

Rodiek Pike - Pose

My buddy Teeg Stouffer of Recycled Fish has provided the photos and already done a story on this, Nebraska Record Pike.

Better yet, watch the video!

HOLY COW!  What a fish!

Here are some more details.

Rodiek Pike - Measure Cleanup Crop Watermark WEB

Pause for a moment and just take that all in. . . .



That stands for itself, but you know I am blogging and have to offer some comments.

You see the estimated weight.  There are several formulae that can be used to estimate the weight of a fish from its length and perhaps girth.  Those formulae are developed from the weighing and measuring of fish and produce estimates of a fish’s weight.  Using several different formulae the estimated weight of a pike with that length and girth measurement ranges anywhere from 26 to over 40 pounds depending on which forumula you chose.

Using the standard weight formula that pointy-headed fisheries biologist use, one developed through statistical procedures and the weighing and measuring of thousands of fish, I can tell you that a 45-inch northern pike would weigh, on average, 23 pounds 11 ounces.  However, the weight of fish of a given length can vary, and a 45-inch pike in mid-winter is likely to be “fat”, weigh more than average for a given length.  It is possible, believable, that 45-inch pike was close to our existing hook & line state record of 30 pounds 1 ounce.

Our existing hook & line state record pike, a 30 pound 1 ounce fish, was 47 inches long.  Unfortunately I do not have a girth measurement for that fish, but I can tell you that it was caught in the fall, another time period when pike tend to “fatten up”.

Was Jake’s fish big enough to be a new state record?  No one can say for sure without weighing it on quality, accurate scales.  That was not done in this case because the angler who caught the fish wanted to release it ASAP, in the best condition possible.  I am absolutely supportive of that decision; I would have done the same thing!  I will say this, it is possible that fish exceeded 30 pounds, and if the angler who caught it wants to claim an unofficial catch & release state record, I am all for it and in fact am going to tell everyone about it!  I WILL bet that was certainly the largest pike that has ever been caught and RELEASED from Nebraska waters!

I have already heard some grumbling about the secrecy of where the fish was caught.  Jake chose to release that fish and also has chosen to protect the fish by not telling everyone where it was caught.  Again, I totally understand and respect that decision, and will again tell you that I would do the same thing!  The fish was caught from public water in Nebraska and that is all I am going to say about it.  If the location of the catch was publicized, there would be a minimum of 200 anglers on the ice there this coming weekend.  That pike was released so it can be “recycled”, caught again, but there is no guarantee the next person would do the same thing.  You might believe that is being coy, selfish, even stuck up and arrogant. . . or is it being respectful of the resource and the fish?

Let me also add that I know Jake’s dad, Dusty, and these guys are good anglers, good “sticks”.  They did their homework, they knew what they were doing, they honed their skills, they have spent a lot of time on the water.  Should they be expected to give that all away to everyone else?  Or, can others arrive at the same place by putting in their own time and hard work?

Earlier this winter I told you about a big crappie that was pulled through an ice hole and that fish also may have been big enough to be a new hook & line state record, Big Fish!  The angler who caught that big crappie, Andy Moore, is also a good stick.  We all know that every time any one puts a hook in the water, there is no telling what might be caught.  Sometimes a beginner will catch a record fish, a trophy fish, their first time fishing.  However, I think it is great that Andy and Jake once again have demonstrated that a person can learn how to catch fish, can learn how to catch big fish.  There are no guarantees when it comes to fishing, but one can learn how to put the odds in your favor and the rewards can be HUGE!

I preach often about catch & release and especially selective harvest–keep the species and sizes of fish that can withstand the harvest for a meal of fresh fish now and then, do not fill the freezer with fish fillets, release the big ones, including big panfish, and especially big predator fish.  It is easy to “talk the talk”; this winter I am thrilled for guys like Andy and Jake who have demonstrated, in spades, how to “walk the walk”.

CONGRATULATIONS Jake!  WHAT A FISH!  Thank you for releasing that beast, and thank you for being such an example for the rest of us!!!

About Daryl Bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.


  1. Congratulations on such a fine fish and thank you for releasing it you will not regret it. In 2009 I caught and released a 45 inch tiger muskie that probably would have been the 2nd largest ever taken in the state and enjoy the thought of me or someone else catching her again when she is the state record.

  2. I don’t think the game and parks should be pushing global warming agenda on our young people. Cleaning up the environment is fine but keep your opinions out. That’s not what we are supporting. I will unsubscribe today.

    • Joe,

      I am confused????? Where did you see a global warming agenda being “pushed” on my blog? I write every blog post, and believe me, I am certain I have not pushed that agenda, far from it!

      You will however read my opinions in my blog, that is what blogging is all about, and I hope you keep reading “Barbs and Backlashes”!

      Daryl B.

  3. Amazing fish I also agree with the catch and release. I’m a sport fisherman and a food fisherman. The big fish need to be returned and the medium need to be takin to sustain a good population!!!

  4. It was February 4, 2014 this year, fishing public waters near Fremont, Rod and reel 2 pound test I hooked into 25 1/2 pound common carp, I have all the video for it the fight the catch pictures of it afterwards, if you guys would want the story email me and I’ll get some details to you and you guys can have the photos and the video for this if you want

    • Brian,

      What did you catch that carp on?

      I might be interested in blogging about your catch–if there is one thing I have learned it is that people LOVE big fish! If you want to let me take a look at your video, e-mail it to me.

      Daryl B.

      P.S. Congratulations! That is an accomplishment to land a fish like that on 2-pound test line, through an ice hole!

    • Brian:

      Now that’s fishing! I hope that the video of your fight ends up accessible. Light line and knowing how to play a submarine are what fishing can be about!


  5. Proud to say Jake is a former student of mine, and it pleases me to no end to hear him talk on the video like that. He is one of the most humble and gracious young men I’ve ever met and it doesn’t surprise me in the least he released the fish. He is a true steward of the land.

  6. Way to go Jake!! Must have made the day worthwhile!

  7. Frank Staskiewicz, Jr.

    What an awesome fish for our great state! And kudos on the release and secrecy of the location. I would’ve done the same as well. Great fish like that need to be protected, AND allowed to reproduce.

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