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New York State record for smallmouth bass broken buy 8.6 pound catch on Cayuga Lake

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced a new state record for smallmouth bass was set on June 15, opening day for bass harvest season. Thomas Russell Jr., of Albion reeled in an eight-pound, six-ounce smallmouth bass from Cayuga Lake, Seneca County. Russell’s bass surpassed the previous record by two ounces, a tie between fish caught on Lake Erie in 1995, and in the St. Lawrence River in 2016.

“Smallmouth bass are one of New York’s most popular freshwater sportfish and it’s exciting to share the great news of Mr. Russell’s record-breaking catch,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “New York’s Finger Lakes are truly an angler’s paradise, providing exceptional fishing opportunities for a variety of sportfish.”

Photo courtesy of Thomas Russell

Pound for pound, smallmouth bass are considered one of the hardest-fighting freshwater fish in New York. When hooked, they will often leap acrobatically out of the water, making them a highly desirable sportfish for anglers to target. They can be found across the state in cooler lakes, rivers, and creeks in rocky/gravelly areas. For more information on where to find smallmouth bass, visit DEC’s Places to Fish and Warmwater Fishing webpages.


Mr. Russell submitted details of his winning catch as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which keeps track of state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and an embroidered patch commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch and Release, Annual Award, and State Record.

A photo of the record fish is on DEC’s New York State Freshwater Fishing Records page. For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, visit DEC’s website.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

This is the second state record set this year. On May 8, the state record for channel catfish was broken when Bailey Williams of Watertown reeled in a 35-pound, 12-ounce channel catfish from the Black River in Jefferson County.

For additional information on the Angler Achievement Awards Program, call (518) 402-8891 or email [email protected].



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