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Chain lakes crappie record falls to southern Idaho reservoir fish

| August 6, 2020 1:00 AM

The Coeur d’Alene River chain lakes are known for their pike fishing, but they also have in recent years become regarded as a panfish hotspot.

About four years ago Idaho’s biggest catch and release black crappie came out of the chain of lakes, and earlier this year, another state record black crappie was caught and released near Harrison.

But the chain lakes status of holding the state’s record catch and release crappie didn’t last long.

Late last month, an Eagle angler pulled a 17-inch black crappie from the Crane Creek Reservoir northeast of Weiser.

Jon Urban was fishing the reservoir on July 26, when he landed the 17-inch fish — big for a crappie whose size usually falls within the aptly-named “Panfish” moniker, or about 10 inches long.

Urban said he measured the record book fish, took a photo and then released it back into the reservoir.

Crane Creek Reservoir north of Nampa and not far off the U.S. 95 corridor, has a history of producing big crappie, according to Idaho Fish and Game. The reservoir holds the certified weight record white crappie. The 3.8-pound, 17½-inch fish was caught in 2012 by Trenten Smith.

Urban’s record moves the black crappie catch and release record back to southern Idaho after it lingered for several years in the Panhandle, where chain lakes anglers kept the record until last spring.

Rick Poedtke caught a 16-inch crappie in Blue Lake northeast of Harrison in May. That fish was the state’s record catch and release black crappie for three months before Urban claimed the title with his fish.

Before that, Blake Rose’s 15-¼-inch crappie, caught in 2016 in Cave Lake at Medimont was the catch and release record to break.

The certified weight record black crappie is a 3.56-pound slab that came out of Brownlee Reservoir (the damned up Snake River between the Idaho and Oregon border) in 2003. The fish measured 17½ inches.

A certified weight fish must be weighed on a certified scale and be accompanied by a certified weight receipt. Grocery stores or Post Offices have certified weight scales.

According to IDFG, only fish that can be legally harvested are eligible for certified weight records and all applications must be submitted within 30 days of the catch date.

Catch and release record fish must be released alive. Catch and release records are based on the total length from snout to tip of tail, with lobes of tail squeezed together. The fish must be photographed next to a ruler or tape. The size must be verified by at least one other person. See the IDFG rulebook.

— Press staff