Ellsworth man breaks 22-year-old record
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has certified a new Kansas state record striped bass that was caught in Wilson Reservoir on May 14, breaking a record that had stood for 22 years. Paul Bahr, Ellsworth, hauled the monster 44-inch, 44-pounder from the lake about 7 p.m. using live shad for bait. After Bahr's fish was weighed on a certified scale, witnessed, and the species confirmed by KDWP fisheries biologist Tommie Berger, Bahr waited the required 30 days before the fish was officially certified a new state record.

Wilson is one of the few reservoirs in the state that harbors a viable striped bass population, and the previous record was taken at this lake, as well. That fish weighed 43.5 pounds and was taken by Sylvan Grove resident Chester Nily in May of 1988.

Striped bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous, meaning that they migrate between saltwater and freshwater, where they spawn. Although they can survive in some Kansas reservoirs, the water must be somewhat clear, and peak summer temperatures must remain relatively cool. Natural reproduction has not been documented in Kansas waters. Stripers were first introduced in Kansas in early 1970s, but fishable populations may only be found in Wilson, Cheney, and La Cygne reservoirs.

A potential state record fish must remain intact until it is weighed and officially identified. Anyone who believes they have caught a state record fish must bring the fish to a grocery store or other business with certified scales as soon as possible. The weighing must be witnessed. The fish must be species-confirmed by a KDWP fisheries biologist. (A tissue sample may be required.) A color photograph of the fish must accompany the application. The fish must be weighed before it is frozen.

All applications for state records require a 30-day waiting period before certification. For a list of Kansas state record fish, visit the KDWP website,, or pick up a copy of the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary wherever licenses are sold.