New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced a new state record for smallmouth bass was set on June 15, opening day for bass harvest season. Thomas Russell Jr., of Albion reeled in an 8-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth bass from Cayuga Lake, Seneca County. Russell’s bass surpassed the previous record by two ounces, a tie between fish caught on Lake Erie in 1995, and in the St. Lawrence River in 2016.
“Smallmouth bass are one of New York’s most popular freshwater sportfish and it’s exciting to share the great news of Mr. Russell’s record-breaking catch,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “New York’s Finger Lakes are truly an angler’s paradise, providing exceptional fishing opportunities for a variety of sportfish.”
Pound for pound, smallmouth bass are considered one of the hardest-fighting freshwater fish in New York. When hooked, they will often leap acrobatically out of the water, making them a highly desirable sportfish for anglers to target. They can be found across the state in cooler lakes, rivers, and creeks in rocky/gravelly areas. For more information on where to find smallmouth bass, visit DEC’s Places to Fish and Warmwater Fishing webpages.
Mr. Russell submitted details of his winning catch as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which keeps track of state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and an embroidered patch commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch and Release, Annual Award, and State Record.
This is the second state record set this year. On May 8, the state record for channel catfish was broken when Bailey Williams of Watertown reeled in a 35-pound, 12-ounce channel catfish from the Black River in Jefferson County.