Montana Record Largemouth Bass Caught in Lake Elmo

The Montana state record largemouth bass has been caught, surpassing the old record by more than a pound.

An angler from Billings, Montana caught what's sure to be the new state record largemouth bass on Lake Elmo, pending an official confirmation from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Local news outlet The Missoulian shared the official FWP release that provided the details. It was Brandon Wright who caught the 22.5-inch-long fish Saturday morning while angling from shore with a worm on a hook and 6-pound test line.

The fish, officially recorded as 9.575 pounds, was weighed on a registered scale at an Alberston's grocery store in Billings Heights. That surpasses the previous record of 8.8 pounds held by Darin Williams since 2009.

It was actually Wright's first largemouth he'd ever caught. While he typically fly fishes, this day called for a more relaxed technique. He said he used a night crawler on a size 10 Eagle Claw hook, cast it into the lake, and sat back to enjoy some TikTok videos on his phone. No more than 15 minutes later, the big fish latched on and he landed what would eventually be the new record.

The only remaining step is to get an official at FWP to sign off on the paperwork, which was already sent to FWP headquarters in Helena, Montana. Wright says he plans to have the fish mounted by a taxidermist.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks keeps fishing records for the state, and though the largemouth is technically not native to the area, the sport fish has become a likely target alongside the more common trout species. The largemouth bass is, despite its name, the largest member of the sunfish family, and the world record sits at 22 pounds, 4 ounces and is a tie between George Perry's 1932 catch in Georgia and Manabu Kurita who reeled one in from Lake Biwa in central Japan.

The joys and impact of bass fishing is spreading to fisheries in all corners of the American landscape, and this is the second bass record set in Montana in recent months. Back in October of 2020, the smallmouth bass record was beaten as well. That occurred just before another string of records at the turn of the year, including a longnose sucker, yellow bullhead, and a brown trout.

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