By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist
Thomas McLeod set two records with a yellow perch he caught at Lake Cascade in January. His 14.75-inch perch is the new state record for fish caught and released, and he gets an unofficial record as the first person to have a fish recorded in Fish and Game's new records program.
"I can't lose that one," McLeod said.
The 36-year-old said he planned on submitting a fish he caught during his trip to Cascade, and landed a bigger one in late December before the catch-and-release program started on Jan. 1.
His state-record perch also happened to be the first fish he caught for the day, "so that's the one I went with," he said.
But he added he wanted to take some home to eat, and while he would have released a bigger one, he didn't catch one on that trip.
"I'm all about letting some of the big ones go and let someone else catch them, or let them spawn," he said.
He's also hoping he's not a one-hit wonder. McLeod said he has fishing trips planned for steelhead, whitefish, and he may return to Cascade for more ice fishing for perch and trout.
He said he will enter whatever he catches.
"I want to see how many I can get," he said.
So far, McLeod's perch entry is the only catch-and-release record, so the rest are open to whoever submits a fish.
To submit an entry, anglers must complete the record fish application form and provide photographs of the fish (see details below) to Fish and Game. The form can be downloaded at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ by looking under the "Fishing" tab for "Record Fish." Direct link: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=82.
The form can also be printed and mailed to the department, or taken to a regional office.
Here are guidelines for submitting a catch-and-release record:
- Fish must be released alive. They are judged by the total length from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with lobes of tail squeezed together. Sturgeon should be measured upside down along the belly from the snout to tip of the upper lobe of the tail fin.
- To break a catch-and-release record, a fish must be at least one-half inch longer than the existing record, except for white sturgeon, which must at least 2-inches longer.
- Anglers must submit at least one photo of the fish directly next to a ruler/tape or an object of known verifiable length. Photos cannot exceed 10MB in size if they're to be emailed to Fish and Game.
- Entries must include at least one photo of the angler with the fish. To reduce handling stress, salmon, steelhead and white sturgeon must be measured and photographed in the water.
- Entries must include at least one witness to the measurement and release.
- All applications must be submitted within 30 days of the catch date.