Friday, July 19, 2024

Trout Creek angler lands state record largescale sucker

by The Western News
| July 5, 2024 7:00 AM

KALISPELL — Montana has a new state record largescale sucker.

Wade Merschat, 12, of Trout Creek, used a nightcrawler to land a 6.72-pound largescale sucker from Noxon Reservoir in Sanders County on June 19. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists verified the state record and issued Merschat his state record certificate on July 1. The fish measured 25.25 inches long.

The previous record was 6.16 pounds set in June 2008 from Woodland Park Pond in Kalispell. It measured 23.1 inches long.

The sucker family is the third largest family of fish in Montana with nine species, behind only the minnow and salmonid (trout) families. The largescale sucker is native to Montana’s western drainage. In Montana, the maximum size is usually less than 5 pounds.

FWP maintains the list of record fish online at

Anglers who think they may have caught a state record fish should take the following steps:

- To prevent loss of weight, do not clean or freeze the fish. Keep the fish cool, preferably on ice.

- Take a picture of the fish.

- Weigh the fish on a certified scale (found in grocery store, hardware store, etc.), witnessed by a store employee or other observer. Obtain a weight receipt and an affidavit from the store personnel if no FWP official is present. Measure the length and girth.

- Contact the nearest FWP office to have the fish positively identified by a fisheries biologist.

Northwest Montana has produced a number of state-record fish, including:

- Brooke trout, caught by John R. Cook in 1940 in Lower Two Medicine Lake. It weighed 9.06 pounds.

- Cutthroat trout, caught by William D. Sands in 1955 in Red Eagle Lake. It weighed 16 pounds.

- Fathead minnow, caught by Chris Gustine May 30, 2014, in Dollar Lake. It weighed 2.7.01 pounds.

- Lake trout, caught by Ruth Barber June 23, 2004, in Flathead Lake. It weighed 42.69 pounds and measured 42.5 inches.

- Lake whitefish, caught by Swan T. McDonald V on Aug. 26, 2006, in Flathead Lake. It weighed 10.46 pounds and measured 27 inches.

- Northern pikeminnow, caught by Darrel Torgrimson in Noxon Rapids Reservoir on May 28, 1991. It weighed 7.88 pounds and measured 27.125 inches.

- Pumpkinseed, caught by Pete Jellar on April 26, 2022, in Fennon Slough. It weighed 0.995 pounds and measured 10 inches.

- Pygmy whitefish, caught by Richard Geldrich on Feb. 13, 2010, in Little Bitterroot Lake. It weighed 0.36 pounds and measured 9.84 inches.

- Rainbow trout, caught by Jack G. Housel, Jr. on Aug. 11, 1997, in the Kootenai River at the David Thompson Bridge. It weighed 33.1 pounds and measured 38.62 inches.

- Rainbow-Cutthroat hybrid trout, caught by Pat Kelley on May 16, 1982, on Ashley Lake. It weighed 30.25 pounds and measured 35.75 inches.

- White sturgeon, caught by Herb Stout in 1968 in the Kootenai River. It weighed 96 pounds.

- Yellow perch, caught by Josh Emmert on Feb. 19, 2006, in the Lower Stillwater Lake. It weighed 2.39 pounds and measured 14.375 inches.