Angler breaks West Virginia's long-standing channel catfish record

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Angler breaks West Virginia's long-standing channel catfish record
Allen Burkett of Criders, Va., caught a channel catfish that weighed 36.96 pounds and measured 40.59 inches long. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

A 17-year record for the largest channel catfish caught in West Virginia has been broken, according to the state Division of Natural Resources.

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On June 20, Allen Burkett, of Criders, Va., caught a channel catfish that weighed 36.96 pounds and measured 40.59 inches long.

Burkett was fishing with chicken liver from the shore of South Mill Creek Lake in Grant County. Burkett’s record fish was measured and verified by division fishery biologist Brandon Keplinger.

The previous record channel catfish of 33.42 pounds and 40.3 inches was caught by Michael Sears in 2005 at nearby Patterson Creek.

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The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as a "channel cat."

In the U.S., they are the most fished catfish species with around eight million anglers targeting them annually. The popularity of channel catfish for food has contributed to the rapid expansion of aquaculture of the species domestically.

Anglers who believe they have caught a potential record-breaking fish should report their catch to the division for verification. Fish that do not qualify as a state record, may still qualify for a trophy citation. For more information, visit wvdnr.gov/fishing/state-records.


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