New state record 3 pound Yellow Perch caught in Harborcreek

Regional News

Erie, Pennsylvania (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A new state record Yellow Perch has been recorded.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced that a 3-pound perch was caught on April 9th by angler Kirk Rudzinski, 63, of Erie, near the area of the Sunoco Cribs where they anchored in sight of the high-rise building at the Brevillier Village community. 

Rudzinski along with his friend Sam Troup, 62, also of Erie, were targeting Yellow Perch using live emerald shiners as bait on a casting rod fitted with 10lb. test braided line with an 8-pound monofilament leader and a pair of size 4 hooks.

“We had been catching them pretty good throughout the afternoon, but then the school of fish moved and so did we,” said Rudzinski.  “We pulled anchor and moved about a hundred yards east where there were some other boats and we started to mark fish again.  We noticed there was a really strong current on the bottom of the lake that day, so we had to cast into the current.”

At approximately 7:21 p.m., Rudzinski felt the bite of a lifetime.

“When I felt the pull, I thought for sure that I had a double,” recalled Rudzinski.  “My drag was set pretty loose and as I was reeling, the fish was taking some line.  As it got closer the boat, I realized that it was a single fish and I told Sam he’d better grab the net!”

Rudzinski says the large perch was securely hooked in the upper lip, and after a two-minute fight, Troup netted the fish and brought it aboard the boat.

“Oh, my gosh! This has to be a state record,” Rudzinski recalls saying at the time of the catch.  “I’ve been fishing on Lake Erie for 45 years and I just love fishing for Yellow Perch, so I’ve seen a lot of them.  Then I saw a few eggs start to drop out of the fish, and I worried that if it was a potential state record, it was going to be losing weight quickly.”

Rudzinski says a scale aboard his boat malfunctioned, so he didn’t immediately know the true weight of the fish.

Around 9:15 p.m., Rudzinski and Troup arrived at East End Angler, a bait and tackle shop owned by Rudzinski, which also has a certified scale.

The scale weight of the Yellow Perch was 2.98lbs.  In accordance with PFBC State Record Fish Application Rules, the weight is rounded up to the nearest ounce, making the weight 3 pounds., 0 ounces, exceeding the current state record by two ounces.

The length of the fish was 16 7/8 inches, with a girth of 14 inches. 

State record fish are judged only by weight and must exceed the previous state record by at least two ounces.  The previous state record Yellow Perch caught in Presque Isle Bay in 2016 weighed 2 pounds, 14 ounces and was also caught by an angler from Erie County.

Rudzinski kept the fish on ice until the following day when PFBC Waterways Conservation Officer Matthew Visosky arrived at East End Angler to verify the species, weight, and review photographs that were taken throughout the initial weigh-in.  In addition to a witnessed weigh-in and PFBC in-person inspection, Rudzinski completed an official state record fish application including color photographs, which was reviewed by PFBC Fisheries and Law Enforcement officials and confirmed.

“It’s a thrill to know that there are big fish like this out there,” said Rudzinski.  “Walleye fishing has been world-class on Lake Erie for several years now, but the Yellow Perch fishing has been a challenge.  We’re in a bit of a decline.  It’s not only a thrill to have this record, but this big fish is a really positive sign of good things to come.”

Rudzinski says he plans to have the State Record Yellow Perch commemorated through taxidermy to display and mount at East End Angler.

A list of current Pennsylvania State Record Fish, official rules and application can be found at www.fishandboat.com.

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