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WVDNR announces state record catches for black crappie and redear sunfish

SOUTH CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has announced two state record catches—a black crappie and a redear sunfish.

Governor Jim Justice praised the accomplishments.

“With these record catches, anglers continue to show the world that West Virginia is truly a world-class fishing destination,” Justice said. “I want to congratulate the anglers who made these incredible catches for inspiring the rest of us to get out there and enjoy the thrill of casting lines in our state’s truly amazing waters.”

Craig Webb of Gandeeville reeled in a 2.85-pound, 17.32-inch black crappie using a baby shad jig at Woodrum Lake in Jackson County. This catch, verified by WVDNR assistant fisheries biologist Cory Hartman, is the first record for the black crappie category since it was added to the state record list in January.

Meanwhile, John Plott of Oak Hill caught a 1.75-pound, 12-inch redear sunfish with a nightcrawler at Plum Orchard Lake in Fayette County. This record was verified by WVDNR fisheries biologist Joel Slabe and is the first for the redear sunfish category, also added in January.

“We’re excited to celebrate these new state records,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “These achievements showcase the quality of our fisheries and the success of our conservation efforts. We encourage all anglers to explore the abundant fishing opportunities throughout West Virginia.”

Both fish were caught in lakes where the WVDNR Fish Management team conducts tagging studies. The record crappie was tagged last year at Woodrum Lake. The fish tagging program helps biologists manage fish populations and improve angler satisfaction by tracking fish movement, population numbers, harvest rates, size selectivity, and growth rates.

The WVDNR offers rewards, including Cabela’s gift cards, to anglers who report tagged fish. Anglers can report by calling the number on the tag, contacting a local WVDNR district office, or emailing with the following information:

  • Species
  • Tag Number
  • Date of Catch
  • Location of Catch (if a river, include the closest landmark)
  • Was the fish harvested or released? (if released, indicate if the tag was removed)
  • Angler’s Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number

For more information about fishing in West Virginia, state record fish, or to purchase a fishing license, visit

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