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Record Tilapia Caught in... Tennessee?!

In a strange twist of events, Tennessee has produced a record tilapia. 

Yeah, you read that right. Barry Parker was fishing on Old Hickory Lake, just upstream from Nashville, when something strange happened. Even though it didn't come as a surprise to him, he caught a state record tilapia.

As you might know, tilapia live in tropical waters as well as inhabiting parts of Florida. So what in the world is one them doing in Tennessee? Well, the answer might surprise you.

The Gallatin Steam Plant feeds right into Old Hickory lake. All year long, even during the winters, the water stays very warm, almost tropical, in that area. On the day the record fish was caught, Parker caught 75 other tilapia. However, none of them were bigger than his 6-pound, 5.5-ounce 22.5-inch tilapia that broke the record. 

"We believe they were introduced to Old Hickory by escaping from farm ponds during the big flood of 2010. Tilapia have been used by private pond owners to provide alternate forage for largemouth bass, aid in vegetation control, and as a food source," said Region II Fishery Manager Todd St. John in an interview. "We do not encourage these farm pond stockings since escape and the introduction to other water bodies is always possible. They are invasive and undesirable and have the potential to compete with native species."

There is no limit for tilapia on Old Hickory lake. All tilapia caught are to be kept as well. Seeing as they are in invasive species, it seems that Barry Parker is doing something about it!