When Christian Cosby threw out a chunk of sucker meat on his six pound test he never expected to catch a huge channel catfish.

Cosby and fishing buddy Brandon Chadwick were fishing near Anvil Draw on Flaming Gorge Reservoir June 24 when he caught a channel catfish weighing 28.52 pounds, measuring 39 inches long, with a girth of 23.25 inches.

“I yelled, “Holy cow it’s a catfish!” Cosby said. “I thought maybe it was a carp. I pulled it as close as I could get it to the shore in the shallow water. Then I jumped in the water, stuck my hand in his mouth and pulled it onto the shore. I was afraid he was going to jump off the line.”

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Green River Fisheries Supervisor Robb Keith said there is no doubt Cosby’s fish is a very old fish. “A quick Internet search suggests the oldest catfish on record was 40 years old,” Keith said. “We last stocked channel catfish in Flaming Gorge Reservoir in 2008. Channel catfish stocking in the Gorge was stopped because we were having a hard time finding a source of catfish free of aquatic invasive species.”

The previous state record for channel catfish was set on April 27, 2005 by another Rock Springs angler, Don Ackerman, also in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The catfish weighed 27.99 pounds, was 38 inches long, and had a girth of 26 inches.

“He was full of crayfish and what looked like eggs or bugs,” Cosby said. “He was in only 18 inches of water; maybe up eating carp eggs, or chillin’ in the warm water because it was nice, warm water in that shallow cove. It was right in the middle of the day; about 1:00.  I have fished a lot in Alabama where I lived and I’ve fished the Gorge for big lake trout and kokanee salmon, but never for catfish. I feel like I must be the luckiest person.”

Anglers who want to submit a state record fish do need to follow the rules for doing so:

  • Fish must be weighed on a certified scale for legal trade. Most post offices or places of commerce are typically certified.
  • Fish must be caught on a rod, reel and line or pole and not snagged.
  • Fish caught from private clubs or hatchery waters, or ponds not accessible for the angling public, are ineligible.
  • The fish species must also be verified by the WGFD and be taken legally according to Wyoming Game and Fish Regulations.

“We also took the fish to Staples to get weighed-in and we got a lot of funny looks,” Cosby said. “They made us take the fish outside after about five minutes. They said it was making the store smell. We felt like real hillbillies. Afterwards, I took the catfish home because I plan to eat it!!”

*The preceding is a press release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department*