Halley was fishing with his uncle and family friends on January 24 when he felt something give his line a good tug. “I literally dove into the water and gave the fish a bear hug so it wouldn’t get away,” recalled Halley. “It was freezing! I had to go sit in the truck to warm up after that.”
Halley was fishing on a private pond in Nodaway County when he caught the 1-pound, 14-ounce fish using the pole-and-line method. The previous record was a 1-pound, 11-ounce fish caught in 2009.
Halley said the plunge into the water was worth it to hold a state-record. MDC staff verified the fish’s weight using a certified scale in Maryville. It’s the first state-record fish of 2020.“It feels pretty nice to have a state record,” said Halley. “I’m going to get a replica made of it. We kept the fish alive in an aerated cooler because we wanted to get it certified. We ended up releasing it back into another pond.”
“Missouri is on the very southern range for the yellow perch,” said MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. “So, new records for this species are not very common.” Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl.