51-pound carp goes into the record books ahead of a 50-pound lake trout caught in Blue Mesa Reservoir a few years ago
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — It took nearly 30 tense minutes of reeling and maneuvering, but at the end of the battle, 14-year-old Cody Moreland entered the Colorado record books by landing a 51-pound grass carp — the largest fish ever caught in Colorado.
Moreland often fishes for bass and carp at the Prospect Park lake in Jefferson County, and when he saw a large carp tailing out in the deeper water, he cast a minnow-like Rapala lure to tempt the big fish.
“I knew they would probably hit the Rapala because I’ve caught smaller carp using that same technique before,” Moreland said. The young angler was using a 14-pound test line with a Zebco rod and reel when he landed the mammoth carp. “This was my first cast of the day but I could tell right away that this was a huge fish,” said Moreland. “I had to make sure my drag was set just right to keep from losing it.”
After 25 minutes of give-and-take, Moreland landed the enormous fish in front of wide-eyed spectators who had gathered to watch. Moreland’s grandfather also witnessed his grandson’s achievement.
“Everyone was in awe when I finally landed the fish,” said Moreland. “Even my grandfather was shocked. He just kept saying, ‘Wow, that is the biggest fish I’ve ever seen.’”
Moreland’s carp measured 42 inches in length, 28 inches in girth and weighed exactly 51 pounds–nearly 7 pounds heavier than the previous 44.8-pound record, caught in 2006 at a private Lake in Larimer County.
In addition to breaking the state record for grass carp, Moreland’s catch is the heaviest fish ever recorded in Colorado, surpassing a 50.35-pound lake trout caught by Donald Walker at Blue Mesa Reservoir in 2007.
“This carp is the heaviest fish that we have ever entered into our record books,” said Paul Winkle, Colorado Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist. “Grass carp can grow to enormous sizes, so it’s not surprising that this species has now taken the top spot in this category.”
Widely considered a “rough fish” by most anglers, carp are not members of Colorado’s sport-fish group. However, due to their hard-fighting nature and tendency to grow to enormous sizes in neighborhood lakes and ponds, carp deserve a spot in Colorado’s record books.
“Grass carp and the more plentiful common carp provide tremendous angling opportunities for Front Range and metro area anglers,” said Mark Cousins, DOW hunter education coordinator. ”Anglers who have discovered the thrill of carp fishing have coined carp the fresh-water bonefish because of the tremendous battle they pose on a fly rod or light spinning gear.”
The DOW stocks grass carp selectively in small lakes and ponds across eastern Colorado, using the herbivorous fish as a biological control to manage overabundant aquatic weeds and vegetation. The grass carp are sterilized in hatcheries before stocking, so they won’t reproduce. According to stocking records, the DOW planted grass carp in Prospect Lake Park in 1988, 1992 and 1993.
Moreland, who has aspirations of becoming a professional angler someday, hopes this is just the first of many record-breaking fish and angling accolades.
“I started fishing when I was 3 or 4 years old and have been hooked ever since,” said Moreland. “It’s my favorite thing to do and I hope to become a professional fisherman someday. My goal is to keep improving my fishing skills.”
The DOW added the record carp to the Colorado State Fishing Records and issued Moreland a Master Angler award certificate and patch, to recognize his outstanding achievement.
“We want to congratulate Cody Moreland for his exceptional fish,” said Winkle. ”It’s always exciting when a record is broken and we get to enter a new name into the record books. I think it’s even more rewarding when a youth breaks the record and can share the moment with their family.”
The DOW tracks fish records by weight in 43 different species categories. Potential record holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16. The fish in question must be weighed on a state-certified scale, and a weight receipt must be signed by a person who witnessed the weighing. The fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a DOW biologist or wildlife manager before an application is submitted.
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Filed under: recreation, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | biggest fish in Colorado, carp, Colorado fishing, fishing records, grass carp, Prospect Park Colorado Division of Wildlife fishing records, record Colorado fish, Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News