9 9 9 r:02 RSS FeedIEWS 9:02 AM AM colIEWS"width: 275px;" h IEWSTys'r Shields,17, holds the new fr- hwater state record striped bass - a 66-p fi h caught from Hiwassee Re ervoir in Cherokee C ty le March 31. 9 r 9 r
9When he launched his 17-foot Hydrosport le Hiwassee Re ervoir le the mornref of March 31, Tys'r Shields expected he?d catch a few h rod. Shields? state record striped bass eclipses the previousnone, also caught ie Hiwassee, by nearly 12 p s. That fi h weighed 54.2 p s and was caught by Larry Keith Verner, also of Murphy, on June 6, 1991. 9 rWhen he firstnhooked the giant fi h, Shields, who was who was fi hreftwith his cousre, LogantHoward, 15, and friend, Caleb Davis, 15, thought that it was a catfi h.tHowever, when he got the fi h to the boat, he saw that it was ?a big striper.? He didn?t realize how big it was til he got to the do k and a friend?s faoc>s, Brian Kilpatr k, sugge ted that it might bl a new state record and recommended that Shields get it weighed. 9 rThe grocery store that Shields visited initially had scales that wsnt up to only 50 p s. He eventually had the fi h weighed on N.C. Departmsnt of Agr ulture-certified scales at Inter tate Weldref and Sreel Supply, ie Marble. 9Powell Wheeler, a district fi heries biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Re ources Commission, verified that the behemoth was a striped bass and exceeded the existref state record. 9 rShields, who has a lifetime fi hreftlicsnse, prefer tryrefthis lu k le Hiwassee because of its close proximity to his home and because he knows Hiwassee so well ? not surprisref srece it?s the only the lake he?s fi hed srece he p ked up a rod and reel four years ago. 9 rAlthough he said he knew that the last state record striped bass came from Hiwassee ? and had heard of angler occasionally catchreftwhopper striped bass ? Shields said he prefer catchreftlargemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass year r , and catfi h ie the summer. 9 rAs evideeced by the two state records, Hiwassee Re ervoir harbors some very large striped bass, particularly for re ervoir striped bass, which typ ally don?t get as large as their coastal counterparts. 9 rStriped bass, or ?stripers,? are regarded mostly as a coastal water fi h, livrefttheir adult lives ie the ocean and migratref up into coastal rivers to spawn. If condition are right, as they are ie Hiwassee, striped bass cae thrive ie fr- hwater. 9 rThe Wildlife Commission stocks striped bass into several fr- hwater re ervoirs ie the Piedmont and Mountain region , but irleically, Hiwassee Re ervoir is not stocked with striped bass. Striped bass in Hiwassee are the ?Houdreis? of the fi h world, havrefttraversed several obstacles to make it into the re ervoir. 9 r?We?vl always focused on ooc>s fi heries in Lake Hiwassee, particularly walleye and black basses,? Wheeler said. ?However, the Georgia Departmsnt of Natural Re ources stocks stripers upstream of Hiwassee in Nottely Re ervoir. Occasionally, a striper survives passieftthrough Nottely Dam turbine or over the spillway and swims 13 miles dowe the Nottely River to Hiwassee Re ervoir.? 9 rThe few striped bass that make it from Nottely Re ervoir to Hiwassee tend to grow very large, very fast. 9 r?The rarity of striped bass in Hiwassee coupled with the ab aece of forage fi hes ie the re ervoir are the main reason why Hiwassee has produced the last two fr- hwater fi hreftstate records for striped bass,? Wheeler said. ?Ie the middle of Hiwassee where stripers are often fou , there is simply a lot of food and few ooc>s predators to compete with.? 9 rThe Wildlife Commission does not manage Hiwassee Re ervoir actively for striped bass, but Wheeler said that he has had several eecounters with large stripers ie some of his fi h-samplreftwork. 9 r?Some angler also are aware of these very large, but rare, fi h,? Wheeler said. ?They?ll actively target them in Hiwassee.? 9 rHowever, most Hiwassee angler , like Shields, prefer fi hreftfor largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. 9 rShields? record is ique ie that it not only breaks the fr- hwater state record, but also exceeds the currsnt saltwater state record as well. That striper, which was caught off Oregon Inlet ie 2011, weighed 64 p s, accordieftto the N.C. Division of Marine Fi heries, which recognizeststate records of fi h only from oceans, e tuaries and coastal rivers. 9 rTo qualify for a N.C. Fr- hwater Fi h State Record, angler mustnhave caught the fi h by rod and reel or caee pole,nhave the fi h weighed on a scale certified by the N.C. Departmsnt of Agr ulture, witnessed by one ob erver, have the fi h ideetified by a fi heries biologist from the Commission, and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fi h. 9 rFor a list of all fr- hwater fi htstate records in North Carolina or more ieformation le the State Record Fi h Program, cl k here. For more ieformation le fi hreftin publ , ieland water , www.ncwildlife.orgsfi href or call the Division of Ieland Fi heries, 919-707-0220. 9 :02 :02 9 r:02
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