February 6, 2001
A 2-pound, 9-ounce yellow perch has been named the new state record
for the species by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The perch, which measured 16.25-inches long, was
caught by Keith Meck of Macungie, while ice fishing at Beltzville
Lake, Carbon County on February 9, 2000. Sensing he had something
special, Meck had the fish weighed on a certified scale. When the
fish weighed in at an ounce more than the 2-pound, 8-ounce record
perch caught by Anthony A. Karuzie at Hunters Lake, Sullivan County
in 1992, he knew he was right.
Although the fish was landed, state record status almost got away.
The Commission, the only entity which can certify a new state record
fish in the Commonwealth, requires applications for potential state
records be submitted with specific documentation on an official form.
A Commission volunteer supplied Meck with an application - but
accidentally provided him with the wrong form. As a result, the perch
was initially entered into the Angler Award Program logs. The Angler
Award Program recognize anglers who make exceptional catches of fish
that don’t meet state record standards. The error was eventually
discovered, but as the Angler Award Program requires less stringent
documentation, some of the information needed to confirm the fish as
a new record was not immediately available.
"Fortunately, Mr. Meck was able to produce most of the missing
information. And after a thorough review, we were happy to certify
his catch as a new state record. We’ve all heard of the big one that
got away, but this may be the first state record that almost got away
because of confusion over paperwork," said Carl Richardson, who
coordinates the program for the Commission.
To be considered for state record certification, a fish must be
caught using legal means, in season, from Pennsylvania waters open to
the public without charge or fee. Fish taken from farm ponds,
fee-fishing lakes, ponds or streams or in waters restricted to use by
club members or their guests do not qualify. Potential record fish
must exceed the established benchmark by at least one ounce, as
weighed on a certified scale. The fish must be examined by a
Commission biologist or Waterways Conservation Officer.