If you've been looking to catch a big channel catfish in Idaho this year, you might want to head over to C.J. Strike Reservoir soon. The 7,500-acre, manmade lake just produced its second record fish of the season. It was only a few weeks ago when Cody Kastner caught a 32.9-pound monster from the lake that was quickly certified by Idaho Fish and Game as the new state record.
Kastner was probably lucky that Paul Newman decided to return his catch, because it otherwise would have been a short reign at the top. The IDFG announced Newman caught a monstrous 42.5-inch channel cat from the same reservoir on July 20. It was an incidental catch. Newman had been hoping to catch a sturgeon when the big catfish struck.
Before he released the fish back into the lake, Newman took a measurement and weighed the fish on an uncertified digital scale. While the fish's weight cannot be verified, the scale read 37 pounds, which would have blown Kastner's fresh record out of the water.
The fish is large enough to qualify as the new state record for a catch and release. The previous record set in 2020 was only 33 inches, so Newman's catch easily surpasses that to take the top spot. C.J. Strike is normally known for its excellent bass fishing, but after these two catches it wouldn't be surprising to hear of more cat anglers making the journey there.
Idaho isn't normally the first state one thinks of when they talk about fishing for catfish. However, that too may change as the IDFG notes it has been an especially active year for big fish catches. On July 9, Jared Holt set the new catch-and-release record for a flathead catfish with a 43-inch specimen caught on the Snake River.
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