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April 1, 2010

State brook trout record eclipsed again, this time at Lake Jocassee

Record Brook Trout and Bryan LeeA new record for brook trout was recently set on Lake Jocassee, just weeks after a 9-year-old angler tied the 30-year-old record on the South Saluda River.

While practicing on Feb. 12 for the Lake Jocassee Trout Tournament, Bryan Lee of Mauldin caught a 2-pound, 12-ounce brook trout. The tournament was later canceled because of snow and rescheduled for the next week, and although Lee came in second at the tournament, his practice fishing earned him a state record fish.

The brook trout was weighed on certified scales at Durham’s Convenience Market near Six Mile in Pickens County, and verified by Dan Rankin, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Upstate regional fisheries biologist. The record brook trout was 18.25 inches long, with a girth of 10 inches
"Lake Jocassee is like no other fishery I have been on, but is one of the best, most beautiful, most humbling, and most rewarding," Lee said. "A state record ‘brookie’ to match is to go without saying anything. Right time, right day, right bait and a lot of luck. Great thing about our state and fisheries, state records can be beat every year."

Lee has been fishing Lake Jocassee for more than 20 years, the last 10 years with his fishing partner, Lee Sakovich. The record brook trout was caught at 10:45 a.m. in about 25 feet of water while deep-drifting minnows.

The last state record brook trout came out of the South Saluda River, when 9-year-old Riley Dunn of Tigerville caught a 2-pound, 6.08-ounce brook trout on Jan. 22. However, since existing records must be exceeded by a minimum of two ounces to be supplanted in the state record book, Riley’s catch shared the top spot with a 2-pound, 6-ounce brookie caught by L. Dean Chapman of Salem on the Chattooga River in 1979.

Lake Jocassee already held the record for brown and rainbow trout, and now, with Lee’s new brook trout record, holds the record for all three trout species found in South Carolina.

All freshwater fish records for South Carolina can be found online. To report your record breaking catch, an Affidavit for Record Freshwater Game Fish must be completed and submitted to DNR no more than 45 days after the catch.

Anglers who think they have caught a state or world record fish should take the fish as soon as possible to a set of state certified scales-such as a local grocery store scale. Two witnesses must be present and available to sign the state affidavit form. Photos should be taken for additional documentation and steps taken to immediately preserve the fish. This can be done by wrapping the fish in a dark plastic bag and placing the fish on ice or freezing it.

Freshwater all-tackle sportfishing records are kept for 32 species: striped bass, white bass, hybrid bass, white perch, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, redeye bass, bluegill (bream), shellcracker, redbreast, warmouth, flier, pumpkinseed, white crappie, black crappie, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sauger, yellow perch, walleye, chain pickerel (jackfish), redfin pike, muskellunge (muskie), blue catfish, bullhead catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, mudfish (bowfin) and American shad.

To purchase your South Carolina freshwater fishing license and start your quest for the next record breaking fish call 1-866-714-3611.

South Carolina's natural resources are essential for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Find out why Life's Better Outdoors.

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