96 pound Blue Catfish Certified as New Ohio State Record
An Ohio state record Blue Catfish, weighing 96 pounds is only the second blue catfish to fulfill a new state record category established in 2008.
Chris Rolph, of Williamsburg, was fishing for catfish from a boat on the Ohio River near Cincinnati in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 11, when he hooked and landed a 54-1/2 inch blue catfish with a 36 inch girth weighing 96 pounds. Upon landing the fish after a 30 minute battle his fishing partner that night, Jon Owens of Amelia, knew they had just boated a new state record catfish and the pair immediately headed back to Schmidt Field ramp from where they had launched. Later that morning Rolph, who kept the fish alive in a large aerated stock tank, had the fish weighed on certified scales at Bethel Feed & Supply.
Rolph’s record blue catfish was caught using cut skip jack for bait at approximately 12:45 a.m. Together the fishermen caught five small catfish before hooking the state record. Rolph wanted to release the fish unharmed therefore special arrangements were made to have the fish examined and photographed that morning by the chairman of the OWO State Record Fish Committee. Afterwards the record blue catfish was safely released into a large farm pond.
Rolph’s blue catfish replaces the previous record held by Keith Setty from Lynchburg, who caught a 57 pound, 3.2 ounce blue catfish from the tailwaters of Meldahl Dam on the Ohio River.
Joint studies conducted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Kentucky Fish & Wildlife found blue catfish populations in the lower Ohio River were substantial enough to warrant down listing the species from “endangered” to species of special concern. Down listing the blue catfish opened up sport fishing opportunities for anglers on the Ohio River, resulting in the fish being added to the state record fish list by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio in 2008.
|Chris Rolph with his 96 pound blue catfish.
Photo by Tom Cross
Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist Doug Maloney, at Wildlife District Five, identified Rolph’s catch as a blue catfish. Blue catfish is the largest growing catfish in the Ohio River often weighing in excess of 100 pounds. The Kentucky state record blue catfish is 104 pounds and was also caught from the Ohio River.
Ohio state record fish are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee. Assisting in the process is fisheries biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
For more information on Ohio’s state record fish program, visit the Outdoor Writers of Ohio Web site.
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