Fishing Records: The Largest Lunkers Caught in Iowa [PHOTOS]
[SPRING 2023 UPDATE] There have been a couple of updates to state records since our original story. One of those may hold the smallest record for a "largest" fish of its kind.
[ORIGINAL STORY, APRIL 22, 2022] As the weather finally begins to warm, everyone in the state of Iowa that loves to fish has that excitement growing in them. The kind that comes with knowing it's time to pack up your fishing gear and head to your favorite spot to try to land a big one. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year you'll catch a fish big enough to get yourself on this heralded list of the biggest fish caught in Iowa, for each species.
The idea for this story came from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Last week, they tweeted a picture of an Anamosa man holding a 43-pound fish that they'd confirmed was a Smallmouth Buffalo. The DNR explained that they were "waiting on genetic testing to ensure it (the fish) was a smallmouth, not a hybrid w/Iowa's 2 other native buffalo."
John Dirks of Anamosa was waiting for a while. He caught the fish on December 1, 2021. The confirmation was huge because it determined that John now has the record for largest Smallmouth Buffalo caught in Iowa. Dirks and his 43-pound, 36-inch catch are in the photo gallery below. The DNR believes the fish is nearly 70 years old.
You'll notice something else as you look at those pictures. Dirks' catch is one of four record-setting fish that were caught in the Wapsipinicon River, known affectionately around here simply as the Wapsie.
One other thing. Rory Petersen makes two appearances below. Yes, he holds two different Iowa records. Both were caught on the Wapsie, and both in April of 2020. What a month that must've been.
Enjoy the photos and best of luck on your angling in 2022. Here's hoping you land a lunker big enough to unseat someone below. It would definitely make you a "reel" legend.