Montana angler lands new state record largemouth bass
Brandon Wright displays a 9.575-pound, 22.5-inch largemouth bass he caught Saturday, April 24 from Lake Elmo in Billings Heights. The fish broke a record which stood since 2009. The previous record 8.8-pound bass was caught in Noxon Reservoir. (Photo courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks)
| April 29, 2021 12:00 AM
A largemouth bass pulled from Lake Elmo in Billings Heights last Saturday is big enough to be a new state record.
The 9.575-pound fish tops the previous record of an 8.8-pound lunker that stood for nearly 12 years. Darin Williams caught the previous record in Noxon Reservoir on May 2, 2009.
Brandon Wright caught the new record, a 22.5-inch fish, Saturday morning while angling from shore with a worm on a hook and 6-pound test line.
He officially confirmed the fish’s species, weight and length by contacting Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials and weighing it on a certified scale at Alberstons grocery in Billings Heights.
Wright, who has lived in Billings for about four years, said he usually likes to flyfish, but decided Saturday to fish at Lake Elmo.
He arrived at the lake at a little after 10 a.m. and tipped a No. 10 Eagle Claw hook with a piece of night crawler. Then, Wright said, he sat back and started watching Tik Tok videos on his cell phone. Within 15 minutes, the big fish took his bait and he was able to reel it in.
It was the first largemouth bass that Wright ever has caught. He plans to have it mounted by a taxidermist.
The last remaining step to declaring the largemouth bass a state record is a signature from the FWP fisheries division chief in Helena. FWP officials in Billings said the paperwork was in the mail to Helena Monday.
It has been a busy winter and spring for state fisheries record keepers.
Other recent records included a chinook salmon in August, a smallmouth bass in October, a yellow bullhead in December and a brown trout in February.
People who think they have caught a Montana record fish should keep the fish fresh on ice but not frozen, document the length and girth with photos, contact FWP at the first opportunity for positive species identification, have the fish weighed on a certified scale and keep the certificate from the scale or an affidavit from the scale owner.