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Whopper Kokanee Salmon Caught from Nantahala Lake

Aug. 29, 2007

North Carolina kokanee salmon
RALEIGH, N.C. – In three trips to Nantahala Lake this month, Mark Swann has managed to reel in two kokanee salmon state records.

On Monday, the Black Mountain angler landed his second state record — a 3.07 pound fish that measured 19 ˝ inches in length — on a custom built rod with a Penn 209 reel, using a Frisky Fish spoon as a lure. The fish was weighed on certified scales at Ingles Market in Bryson City.

Swann caught his first record-breaker, a 2.48-pounder, on Aug. 3, only to see the record broken the next day by 9-year-old Levi Towery, who brought in a salmon that topped his by a mere two-tenths of a pound.

His latest catch will be hard to beat — maybe. According to Doug Besler, the fisheries biologist who certified this latest state record, some kokanee salmon in Nantahala Lake may get as big as 5 pounds during the spawning run. Swann’s fish is a nice size, particularly for the nutrient-poor reservoirs common in the western part of the state.

Nantahala Lake is the only spot in North Carolina where kokanee salmon are found. The fish, which is native to the western United States, was stocked in Nantahala Lake in the mid-1960s by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in an attempt to establish the species as a forage fish for other predator fishes in the lake. This stock has remained and become a favorite target for anglers like Swann.

To qualify for a state record, anglers must have caught their fish on a hook and line, must have their fish weighed on a certified scale witnessed by one observer, have the fish positively identified by a qualified expert from the Commission and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish.

Check out the other North Carolina Fishing Records



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