Idaho Fish and Game’s catch-and-release record program took effect on Jan. 1.
The first fish to be recorded in the new program? A yellow perch.
Thomas McLeod caught the perch at Lake Cascade in January, according to Fish and Game. The fish measured 14.75 inches, the new state record for a yellow perch caught and released. Unofficially, McLeod was the first person to record a fish in the new catch-and-release program.
Anglers can submit an entry for a record fish in the new program by filling out an application and taking photos of the fish. 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. Fish and Game says that McLeod’s yellow perch is the only one on record with the new catch-and-release program, so far.
McLeod says that he wants to get more records. He has plans to fish for steelhead, whitefish, trout, and more perch.
“I want to see how many I can get,” he says.