There are many fine fishing waters in our area. Some of the largest fish caught annually in the state come from our local waters including a few which are state records. The top 5 Chain Pickerel and four of the top 5 Largemouth Bass caught in PA in 2012 were all caught locally.
The following fish caught locally are on the list of the top 5 largest fish caught in 2012, by weight submitted by application to the PA Fish Commission's Biggest Fish of 2012 Angler Award Program. Weights and sizes are not officially verified, all submissions are accepted on the honor system.
Rank, Water, Date, Bait, Weight, Length, Girth
1st, Beltzville Lake, Carbon Co., 10/28, Minnow, 10 lb. 4.4 oz., 24.75 in., 18.75 in.
2nd, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 10/21, Minnow, 8 lb. 4.9 oz., 22.11 in., 17.99 in.
4th, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 10/17, Minnow, 7 lb. 14.6 oz., 21.75 in., 17 in.
5th, Hidden Lake, Monroe Co., 6/16, Spinnerbait, 7 lb. 2 oz., 22 in., 17 in.
1st, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 10/21, Minnow, 7 lb. 1.25 oz., 21.75 in., 15.75 in.
4th, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 10/16, Minnow, 6 lb. 9 oz., 20.75 in., 15.25 in.
Striped Bass – Lake
2nd, Blue Marsh Lake, Berks Co., 4/6, Nightcrawler, 20 lb. 12 oz., 37.50 in., 19.50 in.
3rd, Beltzville Lake, Carbon Co., 5/12, Rapala,18 lb. 9 oz., 36.50 in., 21 in.
1st, Lake Ontelaunee, Berks Co., 12/15, Fathead Minnow, 3 lb., 17.5 in., 19.25 in.
4th, Lake Ontelaunee, Berks Co., 6/30, Top Water, 2 lb. 10 oz., 17.5 in., 10 in.
5th, Lake Nockamixon, Bucks Co., 6/30, Curlytail Jig, 2 lb. 10 oz., 17.25 in., 13.5 in.
1st, Hidden Lake, Monroe Co., 6/2, Berkley Tube, 15 oz., 10 in., 6 in.
5th, Laubach Park, Lehigh Co., 7/11, Nightcrawler, 10 oz., 9.5 in. length
1st, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 11/24, Minnow, 7 lb. 1 oz., 28 in.,14 in.
2nd, Hidden Lake, Monroe Co., 6/2, Sweetbeaver, 5 lb. 8 oz., 28 in., 15.5 in.
3rd, Lake Nockamixon, Bucks Co., 5/2, Spinnerbait, 5 lb. 4 oz., 28.5 in. length
4th, Francis Walter Dam, Carbon Co., 10/21, Minnow, 5 lb. 3.5 oz., 25.25 in. 14 in.
5th, Kaercher Creek Lake, Berks Co., 8/4, Sento, 3 lb. 15 oz.
4th, Hokendauqua Creek, 5/4, Butterworm, 4 lb. 1 oz., 21 in. length
2nd, Lehigh River, 1/2 Mepps Aglia, 9 lb. 1 oz., 25 in., 17 in.
5th, Monocacy Creek, Bethlehem, 6/4 Spinner, 7 lb. 3 oz., 23.5 in., 15.75 in.
For a fish to be considered as a potential state record, specific requirements must be met. Contact the PFBC at 717-705-7835 for more information. The following state record fish were caught in local waters:
Channel Catfish, 35 lb. 2.5 oz., in the Lehigh Canal Northampton County, 1991, by Austin E. Roth III of Bowmanstown.
Rainbow Trout, 15 lb. 6.25 oz. in the Jordan Creek Lehigh County, 1986, by Dennis L. Clouse of Bethlehem.
There is also a program offered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) called the "Angler Award Program." The PFBC issues a certificate and a patch for each species of fish that is caught which exceeds a certain length or weight.
They also issue first time fisherman a nice certificate for their very first fish caught in Commonwealth waters. Junior fisherman, those under 16 years old, can also receive certificates and patches for smaller trophies than Senior fisherman.
In order for a fish to qualify, it must be officially weighed and measured by fishing license agents, official weighing stations, tackle stores, or authorized employees of the PFBC.
The PFBC gives out certificates and patches for most species of fish targeted in Commonwealth waters. The list is quite large with many various fish species on it.
The Pennsylvania Angler Award Program also gives out certificates and patches for trophy fish that are caught and released. In order to qualify for these awards, your catch must be witnessed by another person and your fish must be measured from the tip of the nose (closed mouth) to tip of the tail. Fish that are caught and released must have side view photos taken at the catch site and the fish cannot show any signs of mishandling or else the application will be rejected.
To qualify for an award the fish must be caught by legal methods during their open season. This program is open to both residents and non-residents of PA. All fish must be caught in Pennsylvania waters that are open to the public without charges or fees.