While fishing in Nantahala Lake, anglers recently set two North Carolina state records for kokanee salmon in a single week.
On June 6, Fred Mix, of Rainbow Springs, broke the existing record of 3 pounds, 9 ounces, held since 2009 by Ashley Swann, of Swannanoa, after reeling in a 3-pound, 15-ounce fish, using a homemade spinner.
Five days later, on June 11, Jeffery Todd Smith broke Mix’s record, catching a kokanee salmon that weighed 4 pounds, 1 ounce. He used flashers and dodgers as lures.
Smith, who is from Mills River in Henderson County, knew that kokanee salmon are found in North Carolina only in Nantahala Lake, having been stocked in the mid-1960s by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in an attempt to establish the species as a forage fish.
He has been trolling the lake for the last two years, hoping to catch a record-breaking salmon. On June 11, his birthday, Smith achieved his goal, reeling in the state record fish after trolling for nearly nine hours.
He had the fish weighed on certified scales at the Ingles supermarket in Bryson City that night, and the next day, Jacob Rash, the Commission’s coldwater research coordinator, examined and certified the fish.
To qualify for a N.C. Freshwater Fish State Record, anglers must have caught the fish by rod and reel or cane pole, have the fish weighed on a scale certified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, witnessed by one observer, have the fish certified by a fisheries biologist from the Commission, and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish.
For more information on fishing in North Carolia’s public, inland waters, visit ncwildlife.org.
source: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission