It’s official: Crappie record broken

In case you missed it, in the Thursday, May 10 edition of the OBSERVER, in this column there was an article that announced that the New York state record for black crappie was broken last Sunday by two friends fishing at Fluvanna Lake/Gernatt’s gravel pit. The area is closed to the public, but both anglers had permission to fish there. A 12 year old young man named Dylan Naples first caught a black crappie that weighed 3.65 pounds breaking the previous record of 3.12 pounds that had stood for 20 years. Naples’ record was broken 10 minutes later when his companion, Will Wightman, caught another “hawg” black crappie that was even bigger.

Both anglers suspected they had trophy fish and notified an ENCON officer, who met them at the South Dayton Super Duper grocery store so they could officially weigh-in their fish on certified scales. Wightman’sblack crappie weighed in at 4.07 pounds.

The next step in qualifying for a state record is to have the fish properly identified as black crappie, by a qualified Department of Environmental Conservation biologist. I checked with DEC biologist Jim Markham about the news and Markham explained part of the identification process involves measurements of the location of the fish’s eye, as well as the number of rays or lines in the fish’s fin. In addition, the fish cannot be a hybrid mix of the two species black and white crappie.

Markham did comment that both recently caught crappie did go through the proper identification process and are now the reigning No. 1 and No. 2 black crappie in New York. For the time being. Mr. Markham also pointed out that in the 2017-18 NY Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet (available where licenses are sold), there is a section with the list of current state records. as well as an application form for qualifying for various awards including annual awards, catch & release, and state records. Check out pages 60 through 65 to bone up on this information. You never know!

Some records you may want to keep an eye on are: Yellow perch at 3 lbs. 8 oz., pink salmon at 4 lbs. 15 oz., common carp at 50 lbs. 6 oz., bluegill at 2 lbs. 8 oz., rock bass at 1 lb. 15 oz., white bass at 3 lbs. 6 oz., and walleye at 16 lbs. 9 oz. Have fun and be prepared.

(A tip of the hat goes out to Ivory Fishgold and Steve Steinberg, who alerted this columnist to the story and photo. Thanks!)

Calendar: The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a a rimfire shoot on May 27. For information, contact Tom Kessler at 680-0209.

There will be a safe boating course held on May 19 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club starting at 7:30 a.m.

The Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association will hold its monthly meeting on Friday May 18, starting at 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and are held at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will present its annual Take-A-Kid Fishing event on Saturday, June 2, from 8 a.m. until noon. There is a $10 fee for this event. First time attendees will receive their own rod and reel outfit which they keep. Veterans to this event will receive a grab bag of tackle. All youths will receive a T-shirt. The day’s activities start with fishing from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Then activities and food at the “Con Club.” ALL youths must be accompanied by a parent or adult. Mandatory registration is available at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. Questions? Call 366-1772 and leave a phone number, when necessary.

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will host its 25th annual Lew Meade Memorial Youth Fishing tournament on Saturday, June 23 on Cassadaga Lake. This event is open to the public for age groups 7 years old and under, 8-10, 11-13 and 14-16 years old. Fishing will be from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. Trophies will be presented in each age group and for boys and girls. In addition, first place winners will receive their own kayak. For more information, call Steve Wickmark at 595-2900.

The Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program will be starting its 18th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. Classes are Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. You do not need any prior experience to attend these classes, and the course is geared towards ages 10 and older. For more information contact Alberto Rey at 410-7003 or

The Great Lakes Experience Festival in Dunkirk will return this year on June 9 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event will once again be held in Memorial Park. More details at a later date.

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or any other outdoors event, and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048, or call the sports department at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.

Note: If you have a big-game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000, ext. 5, after 6 p.m. or email