The Idaho Anglers set the Smallmouth bass state record

Travis Wendt recently set a new state record for one of the most sought-after game fish species in the country. Wendt went fishing in Idaho Dworshak Reservoir on May 10 and ended up tying with a thick bass. He measured his large bronze back and released it.

“On a rare day off, I got into the business of a lifetime, loaded my little ones and went on a single trip to Dworshak,” Wendt, a Reel Time Fishing guide, wrote in a Facebook post. “I ended my day with my personal best – 23.5 inches by 18 inches and 7 pounds, 11 ounces.”

The fish was not only a personal best, but it was recently confirmed by the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) as the new state catch and release record for the species. She beat a 22.75 inch that was caught in Dworshak in 2020.

man poses with small-mouth bass
Bassmallmouth at Dworshak Reservoir feast with coca salmon. Travis Wendt via IDFG

Dworshak Reservoir is something like a small trophy point. According to the IDFG, it has not only produced the last two catch and release records, but also all state-certified bass records since 1982. The current state record for weight is a 9.72 kg that was captured by Dan Steigers in 2006.

“Biologists have learned that the big bass in Dworshak has a cyclical pattern, which is related to the fluctuating number of cocaine in the reservoir,” the IDFG explains in a press release. “In years when cocaine is abundant – and usually smaller as a result – they provide the abundant food needed to grow the small big mouth.”

Read more: Texas fisherman catches 300-pound, 8-foot “absolute dinosaur” alligator

IDFG fisheries biologist Eli Felts predicted breaking small records from the reservoir in March 2022 – a prediction that has just been proven accurate. “Last fall I received numerous reports of small mouth catching over 8 pounds,” he wrote. “I would not be surprised to see the current state record challenged over the next two years.”

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