New Fish Record Application Made Easier

By: Butch Thurmond
The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) just made things a lot easier for anglers catching a fish that could land in places two through ten in the Louisiana record book!  Up until just recently, any fish that might qualify for one of those places had to be identified in person by a qualified biologist! That meant for a big fish, like a 109 pound wahoo, that fish had to be kept iced down and transported to a biologist, unless that angler was fortunate enough to find a biologist on location or a biologist willing to travel to see the fish.  Now, good photos showing both sides of the fish can be used for identification and to ensure that the fish has not been mutilated in any manner.

For George Kendrick of Slidell, LA, that means he can now enter his big wahoo caught on March 8 earlier this year!  He is an avid tournament angler and was targeting wahoo that day. “We had already caught three wahoo that weighed about 80-pounds and had moved to another rig.  We came back to that same rig, increased the speed of our troll, and that big one slammed my bait,” he told me while we were at Southside Café in Slidell. Hanging from the ceiling was the record-setting amberjack caught by another Slidell angler, Chris Legrand.  George went through the process of landing the fish unaided, brought it to a certified scale to be weighed and had plenty of good photos of the fish – but he did not have it identified and examined by a biologist. “I didn’t realize I had to actually do that. I thought that photos would be good enough,” George told me.  Thinking that he had eaten the top ten wahoo, he gave up all hope of getting it into the record book. After I discussed the situation with LOW, the rule was changed; so now, George has 60-days from when he caught the fish to submit his application, and if approved, he will take over the number seven spot in the wahoo record book.

How would you like to see your name in the Louisiana Fish Records?  It isn’t as difficult as you might think! Sure some of the first places might be pretty tough to knock out, but LOW includes the top ten weights in the records.  There are a lot of fish eligible in both salt and freshwater categories for rod and reel as well as the fly rod division!

Just about everyone who has fished in saltwater with a chunk of shrimp on a hook has probably tossed back a potential record entry!  The speckled hind has only six entries, but I don’t even know what one of them looks like! Several subspecies of grouper have only one entry.  Heck, the “Spot” doesn’t even have an entry, so you could hold down first place until someone else discovers what a “spot” is and enters!

In the freshwater division,  new divisions have recently been added and as of this writing, no entries have been approved!  Redfin pickerel, flier, and three types of bullhead catfish are some of the new categories.

 Some of the records have been held for years.  For instance the Speckled Trout division has seen Leon Mattes hold on to that cherished number one with a 12.38 monster since April of 1950.

The rules for entering a fish calls for the entry to be weighed on an official scale, be witnessed, and the fish certified by a fish biologist.  Then there is the $25 entry fee, which is probably why some of the spots are still open. Go to the LOW’s website,, click on Records at the top, then on Application.  Read all of the rules before you go fishing to make it easier to qualify your fish, as there you must have all of the information prior to sending in your application.

Even if you don’t want to enter a fish, pull up the records just to go over all of them.  I found it very interesting reading; not only are some of the top fish going to be difficult to beat, but there are also some which shouldn’t be that difficult to beat.  Then there are the categories that aren’t even filled up.

To help in identifying fish, go to the LDWF website,  Unfortunately, that “spot” isn’t on the list; so here is a photo of one - get out there and catch one before I beat you to it!!   The “spot” (Leiostomus xanthurus) is a small, short-lived saltwater fish that inhabits estuary and coastal waters and derives its name from the prominent dark spot behind each gill.  Heck, maybe I’ll catch a seven-pound gafftop and enter it.

Finding a biologist can be the most difficult part, so here is a list of departments across the state that can help you find one.  If you caught a fish that might qualify for the record book but didn’t enter it because of the tougher requirement at the time, you have 60-days from when the fish was caught to submit an application.

Fishery Biologist  Contacts:

  • Alexandria  318-487-5885
  • Baton Rouge 225-765-2337
  • Bourg 985-594-4139
  • Grand Isle 504-284-2030
  • Lacombe 985-882-5228
  • Lacombe 985-882-0027
  • Lake Charles 337-491-2577
  • Lake Charles 337-491-2579
  • Many 337-286-5940
  • Minden 318-371-3050
  • Monroe 318-343-4044
  • New Iberia 337-373-0032
  • New Orleans 504-284-2030
  • Opelousas 337-948-0255