Riverton angler reels in monster sucker, state record

RIVERTON, Wyo. — Wyoming’s white sucker state record has been broken for the first time since 2011. The new record white sucker was caught in the Wind River on March 20, 2020.

Riverton angler Patrick Edwards set the new record with a fish that weighed in at 5 pounds 6.45 ounces. Edwards’ fish was 22-inches long with a girth of 13.5 inches.

Edwards was looking to get himself and his kids out of the house during their COVID-19 isolation and had been wanting to try pickling white sucker ever since hearing about it from Jim Zumbo on Patrick’s RadCast Outdoors podcast. All of this made for a great excuse to head out in the sunshine for a day of fishing. Edwards’ set up consisted of a basic “pickle rig” with a weight, two hooks and two three-way swivels.

“I put a piece of nightcrawler on each hook, cast it out and let it sit right on the bottom near the seam of the fast and slower moving water in the river,” Edwards said.

Breaking a state record has been on Edwards’ mind for a while.

Pickles make a great lure and garnishment. Photo: Courtesy WGFD

“I’ve been fishing in Wyoming since I was a little guy and I am pretty familiar with each state record,” Edwards said. “About a year ago, I decided it would be smart to print off and laminate the state record list from the Game and Fish website. I keep it in my fishing pack so I can reference it.”

This trip proved to be lucky.

“My kids were able to get some action and caught [sucker] fish in the 17- to 19-inch class. I just happened to luck into a monster 22-inch fish,” Edwards said.

The white sucker is a native species to the Wind River/ Bighorn River. In Wyoming, historic records indicate it was found east of the Continental Divide and was often one of the most abundant fish species in large rivers. White suckers tolerate a wide range of habitats but generally prefer clear water and pool habitat. Insects make up a major part of their diet.

The previous state record was caught in the Bighorn River and weighed in at 4.4 pounds.

Edwards noted that finding a place to get a certified weight on the fish during the COVID-19 outbreak was difficult.

“The folks at the Riverton post office were awesome! They brought me in, let me weigh the fish and were just fantastic. If they had not allowed me to weigh it, it wouldn’t have been submitted. So, I owe them a big thank you. The other cool thing we learned is that they do actually taste very good pickled,” he said.

To qualify for a new fish record, anglers need to have the fish weighed on a certified scale and have it verified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. A list of state record fish is available online. 

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