Specimen Sizes

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Corey's picture
Specimen Sizes
<p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size: 16px;">I&#39;ve started the wheels moving on the &quot;specimen awards&quot; we&#39;ve been talking about, starting with the &quot;Specimen Award Species&quot; list under &quot;Quick Links&quot;. This list will show all the species for which specimen awards are currently available, and what length the fish need to be in order to qualify. Proposed rules are at the top of the list page.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size: 16px;">I would like some feedback on how long &quot;specimen&quot; size needs to be for different species. We want this to be a hard number to shoot for, and it&#39;s OK (but not preferable) if it&#39;s impossible in some areas. </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size: 16px;">I&#39;ll throw a few numbers out there. Chime in if you think they are too low or too high, and also chime in if you have caught any fish that would&#39;ve qualified. </span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Common Carp:</strong> 34 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Shorthead Redhorse:</strong> 21 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Golden Redhorse:</strong> 20 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Silver Redhorse:</strong> 26 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>River Redhorse: </strong>30 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Greater Redhorse</strong>: 30 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Black Redhorse:</strong> 18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Northern Hog Sucker: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>White Sucker: </strong>23 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Longnose Sucker: </strong>22 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Flannelmouth Sucker: </strong>23 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Black Bullhead: </strong>14 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Brown Bullhead: </strong>16 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Yellow Bullhead: </strong>15 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Channel Catfish: </strong>32 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Flathead Catfish: </strong>45 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Longnose Gar: </strong>50 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Shortnose Gar: </strong>32 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Lake Sturgeon: </strong>65 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Shovelnose Sturgeon</strong>: 33 inches (no switch)</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Creek Chub: </strong>12 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Golden Shiner:</strong> 10 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Fallfish: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Roundtail Chub: </strong>20 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Bowfin: </strong>30 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Northern Pike: </strong>45 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Muskellunge: </strong>50 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Smallmouth Bass: </strong>22 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Largemouth Bass: </strong>23 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Bluegill:</strong> 11 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Pumpkinseed:</strong> 9 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Black Crappie: </strong>15 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>White Crappie: </strong>15 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Rock Bass: </strong>12 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Green Sunfish: </strong>9 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Warmouth: </strong>9<strong> </strong>inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Mooneye: </strong>16 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Goldeye: </strong>17 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Tullibee: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Lake Whitefish: </strong>24 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Round Whitefish: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Mountain Whitefish: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Freshwater Drum: </strong>30 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>White Bass: </strong>17 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Yellow Bass: </strong>12 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Rainbow Trout: </strong>30 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Brown Trout: </strong>25 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Brook Trout: </strong>18 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Lake Trout:</strong> 38 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Walleye: </strong>32 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="color:#0000ff;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong>Yellow Perch: </strong>14 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 255);"><strong>Bigmouth Buffalo: </strong>28 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 255);"><strong>Black Buffalo: </strong>31 inches</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 255);"><strong>Smallmouth Buffalo: </strong>27 inches</span></span></li> </ul>
TonyS's picture
I do believe the goal of this

I do believe the goal of this to have catches that are extremely difficult but possible, correct?  Many of these seeem pretty spot on to me: Lake Sturgeon, Smallmouth Bass, Bowfin - all have very difficult lengths to attain.  A few species seem disproportionately easy (strickly my opinion):


Northern Hog Sucker: 16" - I could catch one that size multiple times per year on some rivers.  Maybe 17" or 18" would be better?  


Flathead Catfish: 40" - that's a big fish but breaking 40" isn't that rare even here in the north where where they don't grow very large.  A 45"er should go 50ish lbs, my gut says go at least 45" maybe even bigger than that. 


I'd also say 30" is bit undergunning on Channel Catfish too.  Maybe 32"?

TonyS's picture
I've caught some fish that wo

I've caught some fish that would have qualified (though I'm terrible at remembering to measure fish).  I've never taken pics next to a ruler, but could in the future.  I wonder if we could consider adding the option of a witness OR good ruler shot.  Having participated in a C&R contest based on length I can say that ruler shots are tough and get tougher as the fish gets bigger. 


Otherwise I've topped a few of these:

  • Flathead - 46"
  • Shovelnose - 34"
  • Hog Sucker - 17"
  • Probably topped the Longnose Sucker and Rock Bass but didn't think to measure
TonyS's picture
Some more "specimen" size sug

Some more "specimen" size suggestions:

  • Burbot - I waffle but somewhere in the 34"-36" range sounds good (assuming it will be higher than "ling king," a 10lber is about 32" on average)  In one year of fishing Lake Superior almost twice a week I caught at least a couple hundred Burbot.  Probably a dozen 28"-31", maybe four 32"/33", and one 34".  I know of one 36"er caught and the state record in WI is 40"
  • Flannelmouth Sucker - I'd say 23"-24"  - I caught one that size out of many, many Flannelmouth on "trophy" water.  I believe the "world record" was something like 22"
  • Roundtail Chub - 19"-20" impossible on many waters but they still exist in bigger rivers. 
  • American Eel? 45" maybe?

If we are doing game fish too:

  • Lake Trout - 38" maybe? I've a long ways to go on that...
  • Cutthroat trout - hard to do trout as the andromodous strains grow so much bigger... 25" maybe?
andy's picture
I think greater and river redhorse should be 30”. silver 26”. Longnose gar 50”. Also agreed with Tony on his input. These should be very difficult to attain, and I think we are on the right path...
Corey's picture
Eel and Burbot

I purposefully left eel and burbot off the specimen list because I don't think you could get them to lie straight next to a tape measure without killing them.

TonyS's picture
True enough - Burbot are hard

True enough - Burbot are hard to measure accurately, it can be done but they'd never stay put long enough for a picture.  Eels... yeah probably not possible to accurately measure - hell, holding on to one for a picture is tough enough...

Corey's picture
Shovelnose Tail Filament Length

We also might have to make the shovelnose specimen length longer to account for fish with a long filament/tentacle thing on the tip of their tail. Or do you just not measure the tentacle? Or maybe if you catch one with a long tail filament it's just a lucky break for you? Big hacklebacks with an intact tail filament are pretty rare.

perkinsdonald's picture
looks good!

Those would be awesome catches!!! That would be a heafty shortnose!



The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

SK Justin
SK Justin's picture
For what it's worth...
These are the species that I've caught which would qualify.
  • Shorthead Redhorse: 21 inches
  • Silver Redhorse: 26 inches
  • White Sucker: 22 inches
  • Channel Catfish: 32 inches
  • Creek Chub: 11 inches
  • Northern Pike: 45 inches
  • Rock Bass: 12 inches
  • Tullibee: 18 inches
  • Brown Trout: 25 inches
  • Brook Trout: 18 inches
  • Yellow Perch: 14 inches
Gunnar's picture
What about alligator gar? Buf

What about alligator gar?

Buffalo left off on purpose? 


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Cast_and_Blast's picture
I think 30" for River Redhors

I think 30" for River Redhorse is way out of range.  The 10 lb. River Redhorse I caught (I think) is the biggest redhorse ever caught by anyone on this site.  I know it was the biggest sucker Doc and I have ever seen in our life.  It was so big that we got Josh to mount it and that fish taped out at only 27".  I'm not sure a 30" River Redhorse even swims out there. 


I know length measurements are perhaps easier to get than weight measurements, but a 30lb. Musky from WI can tape out at 48" and a 50" MN musky can weigh a lot less.  The WI musky could be a greater trophy with less length.  I don't mean to be controversial but it's just something to think about.     

Gunnar's picture
Blue sucker?

Blue sucker?


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Cast_and_Blast's picture
With all the incredible angle

With all the incredible anglers on this site, I think the measurements should be at least low enough that at least one angler on this site have reached the goal measurement for each specie.  I'm not sure a 32" walleye has been caught yet here?  That is a huge walleye!

DavidG's picture
I cant imagine a 34 inch bowf

I cant imagine a 34 inch bowfin, that would be huge.  My biggest was only 31 inches and I thought it was a tank.   I do think its possible though.   I would really like to see some of these trophy species in photos if caught or the ones that have already been caught. 


DavidG Blog:  http://www.boundless-pursuit.com

Corey's picture
Fish size

True dat guys, that's why I'm asking for feedback!

For the bowfin I just looked at the top ten big bowfin on the Bowfin Angler's Group website and saw there were a lot of 36-38 inch fish so I knocked off a few inches. That might be unrealistic, or they might be lying; hell, we're lucky to see a 24 inch bowfin up here so what do I know.

I have to somehow tie it into the "Notable Catch" system, as an option, so that people can still post their cool or big fish regardless of size. I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

I'll knock a couple of inches off the bowfin if that seems too big to you, Dave - you'd know better than me.

andy's picture
30” river redhorse...
Are out there. Corey and I have both caught fish that big. That 28+ incher I caught this year didn't even come close to a personal best. Gotta set the bar high enough!
Cast_and_Blast's picture
Wow!  What do you suppose you

Wow!  What do you suppose your bigger River Reds weighed?  Mine must have been heavy for its length.  How many double digit weighted redhorse have been caught here?   

Cast_and_Blast's picture
I looked at a pic of another

I looked at a pic of another nice River Red I caught and it might be closer to that 30" mark but it was clearly smaller than that big 27" one I caught.  Interesting...

andy's picture
MN fish records. Length, weight

Just for reference on some Northern fish - 





Cast_and_Blast's picture
Well there you go.  The state

Well there you go.  The state record Greater and River Red are both under 30", so the next 30"er you catch, you better weigh it cause it might be a new state record.  I think a state record sized fish is worthy of an award on this site.

andy's picture
I agree, but...

We all know that lengths are not equal to weights when you are measuring redhorse.  Time of year, gender and age will all affect overall weight.  I've seen plenty of 20+ " goldens that were half a pound shy of my world record.  Longer, but leaner.  A 28.5" river redhorse I caught from the Wolf River last June only weighed around ten pounds.  Catch a female in April that long, and you're talking 13 pounds.  

These specimen sizes will be hard to nail down, but as far as redhorse go I believe I have a pretty good opinion.  I reccomend _

  • black  redhorse - 17"
  • golden redhorse - 20"
  • silver redhorse - 26"
  • greater redhorse - 29"
  • river redhorse - 30"



Mike B
Mike B's picture
Probably half the white sucke

Probably half the white suckers I catch reach 22 inches, and I must've beat 21 inches with the longnoses too. The suckers grow big up here. I'm sure I pass 11 inches for creek chub every time I visit Ontario in summer; 45-inch pike is tough (but certainably doable), even where I am, same with 24-inch lake whitefish and 18-inch goldeye. One thing I will say is 40 inches is a bit ambitious for a lake trout. I've caught one that long -- barely -- twice, and I'm fishing Great Slave Lake. They do get quite a bit longer but it's a relatively rare catch on Great Slave to pass 40 inches or else your fishing Great Bear where your at a $8,000 a week fishing lodge. A 38 incher is a hell of a lake trout. I've never come close to catching a 32 inch walleye.

mike b

Cast_and_Blast's picture
I like the idea of being chal

I like the idea of being challenged to catch a true trophy but I think some of these marks will be unattainable by most here. 


I have been fishing all of my life and the biggest Bluegill I have ever seen was 10".  I know 12"+ Bluegills exist but that is one huge and rare fish.

Outdoors4life's picture

I was a bit suprised at the 30 inch mark for River and Greater.

Last year I did catch a 2 Rivers that were just under 28inches but not 10 pounds. Andy I know you got some nice ones this year! 30 is a huge redhorse!

My vote would be 29 for both river and greater. Attainable but not common.


I think the numbers up right now for the midwest redhorse are great though.

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Jknuth's picture
I think a good question to as

I think a good question to ask is what is the rareity of the trophy catch you want to see?
1 member possibly on the site or more atainable. Many states have a citation program, the sizes are high, but not too high to be dealing with record fish. 


I guess I can chime in here on lengths too considering I handle peoples trophy fish all the time.


I think the sunfish in general should all be knocked down an inch. Whats listed here is at or greater then the Wisconsin records and all are above the largest wild speciman I have seen come through my shop. I have seen florida gills over 12" but they are strange and mostly tail. and again only from private ponds. 


Here are the biggest wild specimans I have seen or needed to hunt down molds for


Bluegill  11.5"
Pumpkinseed 9.5"
Warmouth 9"
Rockbass 12"
Green sunfish 9"
Longear 7"
Redbreast 10"


The redhorse should be fine, I have broken 30 on greaters and even hit 32" on one fish years back. 
And Ive seen bigger


Bullhead and cats look great to me. 


Possibly the whitebass a little lower to 17" 


Walleye is big but possibly doable in some waters. I did a 33" walleye from DePere last year. But the DNR claims it was the longest one on record in many many years. 
Winnebago for instance has never produced a walleye over the 30" mark.


Sturgeon seem fine to me too. 

Trout and salmon seem ok to me. but there is the issue of inland and outlying. 
My best Brookie was a wopping 24.5" from lake Michigan, but my inland was 18" from a small stream also a whopper
My best Brown was a lean 41" from Lake Michigan and 18" from a  stream (Small by many sandars) 
I know the 41" is an inch longer then the state record, but my fish had a girth of about 23" and was a post spawn male. So it was mostly kype.
My best Rainbow 39" From Lake Michgan and 20" from a stream
So that gets messy

Laker looks good for the great lakes but tough for other lakes. 

Cisco and whitefish look spot on.


Jknuth's picture
Another idea Perhaps we shou

Another idea

Perhaps we should standardize measuring on shovelnose sturgeon?
Personally I always measure to the base of the filiment then measure the filiment. its like a turkey 26# with a 10"beard
So a 33" hackleback with a 5" filiment. 

If you ever look at the florida regulations many species are measured differently. some to the tip of the tail, some to the fork and others to the eye or corner of the jaw. 
Like when I mount Gar for customers I measure to the base of the bill + 2"s So a 40" gar longnose would cost roughly the same as a 26" shortnose. 
Obviosuly for us we need to measure that full length on gar, that was just an example of different methods. 


JediMasterSalmonSlayer's picture
Species Suggested Sizes

i think  length measurements maybe something in line with In-Fisherman Master Angler program:


My state has a trophy fish program for minimum length C&R honoary


Niether program seperates a species by non-anadromous or anadromous ( a mykiss is a mykiss whether resident or not)

My suggestions for a few fish of the far North sizes would make these a "specimen mark of greatness"  not easy to achieve, yet possible and unique to obtain.   

Arctic Grayling: 20 inches

King Salmon: 50 inches

Coho Salmon: 35 inches

Pink Salmon: 28 inches

Sockeye Salmon: 30 inches

Chum Salmon: 36 inches

Dolly Varden: 31 inches

Rainbow Trout: 32 inches

Arctic Char: 31 inches

Lake Trout: 38 inches

Northern Pike: 42 inches   

niener32's picture
Buffalo Numbers

Hi! I thought I would comment on the buffalo numbers seeing as there are no lenghts hammered down. The following are the averages from my study! If you can remember back to August, I posted some pictures from my study, most notably the large Black Buffalo we captured. The averages are total lenths of the fishes that were caught from the study and I would say could be representative as specimen sized fishes, for the midwest mind you. Personally, I have yet to catch a buff, so this is purely knowledge I have from studying and being in the field with them.

Bigmouth- 28 inches (Avg. from 21 fish)

Black- 31 inches (Avg. from 14 fish)

Smallmouth- 27 inches (Avg. from 4 fish)

Hope this helps!

Gunnar's picture
Buffalo present a real proble

Buffalo present a real problem for something like this. Travel will be required for most of the people on this site. Go to TX and you can tie into 50 pound smallmouth buffalo. I'd be ecstatic to hit 20# up here.

See Austin Anderson's record smallmouth http://moxostoma.com/new-world-record-buffalo-in-texas-plus-gar/ for an example.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Its not a problem.  Some folk

Its not a problem.  Some folks are just getting a bit nit picky about stuff.  Its impossible to create a list to everyones personal standards.  I personally like the high benchmarks on each species.  But lets face it, there are certain places around the country that are the best places to target large species of fish.  Like the Red River of the North for Channel Catfish, certain lakes and rivers in TX for huge Smallmouth Buffalo, the Rainy River on the Canadian border for goliath Lake Sturgeon.  The list goes on and on.  Might as well set the mark super high for all species.  Like top end, record size high.  Make it an even playing field for all.  Thats my two cents. 

Gunnar's picture
I only meant a practical and

I only meant a practical and logistical problem for most of us. Not a problem for the idea. I intend to get down there to catch giant buffalo and gator gar. Eventually. Some day. I hope.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
I'd just like to add this. Wh

I'd just like to add this. When I say record sizes, I mean within reason records.  Not beyond, just near.  Within an inch or three.  Nothing like the 18+ lb White Catfish record where most top end white cat catches will be well under 10 lbs.  And a lot of state records out there are mis-identifed species, which certainly helps nothing out here.  My point is this.  If you are going to set the bar high with 18 inch hogsuckers and 30 inch rivers and greaters, why not set the bar high for all?  Any one of those three species at the sizes mentioned would be our new state records. 

Eli's picture
"Might as well set the mark s

"Might as well set the mark super high for all species."


Can't help but agree with you on that one Doc.


...and I've seen redhorse in the St. Lawrence that would go way above 30.




Heidi's picture
A few Qs...
1. Is a pic of the fish posed against a tape measure adequate proof for species awards? 2. Will inconnu be added to the list? ~ even if a guy - or gal - never gets a chance to travel to the places some of the listed species call home, it's still a neat vicarious adventure to see when other folks manage to land one...e.g conies in the NWT, monster cats and gar in the south or even sharks in the gulf to name a few... 3. What about non North American species? Those are always interesting to see

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


Heidi's picture
Didn't see/read the instructions under the 'Specimen Award Species' tab before posting yesterday. My first Q answered. Q's 2 and 3 still stand Not sure how my previous (yesterday's) post got bumped up to today...sorry for that too

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


Phil's picture
Great concept and discussion,

Great concept and discussion, I love this kind of stuff and am all about the pursuit and appreciation of specimen fish (by any definition).   Personally, I think the defining of specimen fish here is headed in the right direction and I would like add support to the point of view of erring on the side of making the specimen mark align with the “holy grail” of size for a species.

 I believe  there are already some nice opportunities on this site to go after some honor roll status achievements and that’s awesome and very legitimate, but there is a fork in the road that is now being approached in defining the level of a specimen.  One fork leads closer to destination where you click on specimen page, see the latest entry and say “Oh good for him/her . . . that’s a really incredible fish.”  The other fork, the one less travelled, leads  a  to a place where all you have to do is see the heading of “specimen” in the recent posts and it causes your palms to go sweaty and your eyes get wide.  And once you click on the link and that photo comes up all you can say is “holy crap!”

It is pretty apparent that there is a spirit among those on this site of pushing the envelope.  And included in these are individuals who have set records and many of the same have released potential record fish for the experience of watching them swim away.  In my mental imagery that is the caliber of fish that is dreamed of and aspired to as the ultimate mark; the fish that if you ever get to hold it in your hands you have little doubt that you that will never again duplicate the feat, the fish that if combined in a small pool would make the MN DNR “hog trough” display at the MN State Fair look more like the minnow tank at the local bait shop.

Of course there will never be a perfect way to define every species in these terms and still keep within the realm of realistic possibility.  And there will always be geographies and systems where the odds of achieving a specimen are literally a thousand times greater than elsewhere but that’s the way nature operates.  I like the values as stated, they are quite challenging but well thought out . . . although some could be bumped up a bit, realizing that over a certain threshold every quarter inch (let alone a full inch) becomes exponentially harder to achieve.  White sucker could be significantly elevated, and although I have never actually measured a 22 inch shorthead, I have seen enough 21’s to realize that I need to try harder to break through to the next level.


andy's picture
well said, Phil.
Your commentary is very much appreciated. I think most of us think alike in terms of ”specimens”.
Corey's picture
Questions 2 and 3

Heidi -

I think inconnu should definitely be added, but I personally have no clue what the specimen length should be. I'd rely on our friends in the far north to do that. We can always add species as time goes by. As far as non-north american and saltwater species, no, I don't plan on defining specimen sizes for any of those.



Heidi's picture
Thanks Corey
Maybe Mike B. has a good recommendation for conies...I also appreciate the bar set high for this - makes for a more even playing field ~ so even a runt like me can dream big!

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


Corey's picture
Length Frequency

I was thinking about the white sucker length being too short, so I decided to look at what percentage of white suckers in my area are over 22 inches. I got the lengths of 182,000 white suckers measured by biologists in my area and made this length frequency graph.

As you can see, there's actually quite a few 22-inch white suckers out there (2,500 fish out of 182,000 or 1.5% of the fish). That means about 1 out of 75 white suckers are this big. Seems too easy. That kinda confirms what Mike and some others are saying. If we bump that up to 23, it comes out to 0.4%, or 1 fish in 200. The biggest half a percent might be a decent size to shoot for. Of course, this might be much easier in areas where white suckers grow large, but I don't think 23 inches would be a pushover anywhere.

Moving on to bowfin. DavidG mentioned that 32 inches is huge for a bowfin, so I pulled the lengths of 26,000 bowfin from local waters.

Now I realize that these are upper-midwest fish, so they might be averaging smaller than those big southern bowfin of legend. At any rate, there were a grand total of 7 fish 32 inches and over, that's one fish in about 4,000 or 3 hundredths of 1 percent. So, it's pretty much impossible up here. And since DavidG himself, who has caught as many southern bowfin as anybody I know, hasn't gotten a 32 yet, then I'm thinking 32 is too big. 31 is better at 1 fish in 700, but 30 inches equates to about 1 fish out of 200 or the top half a percent again. I don't know if 30 inches will be way too easy for folks in the south, but I'll tell you what - I sure would like to see more pictures of 30-inch bowfin on the site. So that's my recommendation.

Finally, Common Carp - I haven't heard much chatter about this one, so I took it upon myself to run the numbers. I found length measurements for 87,000 carp.

As you can see, there's not much there after 35 inches. Only 1 in 3,000 fish are 36 inches, which surprises me because I've caught a few that length. To get to half a percent of the fish, 1 in 200, you have to go all the way down to 32 inches, which is a 16-pound fish on average. That seems too small, I'd like a "Specimen Carp" to be 20 pounds, so I'd like to put it at 34.




the bearded angler
the bearded angler's picture
These are the all time record

These are the all time records in MB since 1992 in length. Now Ive seen some pics where people measure over the fish not flat under or beside, some of the fish in the database are labled bigger than they are in my opinion. and its all pictures submitted no registered scale or CO to confirm but these are the sizes up here.



JediMasterSalmonSlayer's picture
Inconnu - Sheefish

Recommended Length

Sheefish (Inconnu) - 45 inches

I think it should mirror the State of Alaska Trophy Fish Program set length.


Roundtail chub

I think the roundtail chub size is too large. The Arizona state record is 18.5 inches an that has been since 1984. The catch and release record for arizona is 16 inches. Considering the decline of the species in the southwest I would suggest anything over 15 inches.

Different approach for specimen reward

Instead of starting out with a predefined length, I suggest different approach. We start with the largest specimen any one on board has caught rounded down to the nearest inch. Anyone that catches that size or greater gets a badge. If the exceed the current size for badge by more than an inch, that new size becomes the new badge level. For example, if someone catches a 14 inch yellow bullhead that size gets a badge until someone catches one at least 15  inches. Once that occurs the new length is now the new badge level. Overtime this will determine what is an approapriate badge level.

Another benefit of this approach is that it could cover species that are not listed yet.

TonyS's picture
Surfraider - that's an intere

Surfraider - that's an interesting method for determining size.  I kinda like that (personally).  I'm a bit shocked that the records are so low for Roundtails in AZ.  They must be declining badly down there?  They are doing very well in many parts of Colorado, though fish over 15" are still very uncommon (at least they were 3 years ago when I lived there).  You might be surprised that the largest Roundtails caught by anybody on this site were over 20" (and were actually caught in AZ).

Cast_and_Blast's picture
Corey, Do they have graphs li


Do they have graphs like that for all species?  I think the top 1-2% of each species is challenging enough otherwise no one may obtain an award.  My point is that if the bar is too high, you lose the desire to go after it.  You might as well chase the record instead. Just my 2 cents. 

Clint from Texas
Clint from Texas's picture
This is great

I think all this discussion is great but I think it is getting out stretched a little. I think that we need to focus our attention into waves. Such as a list of 10 at a time, that way we can achieve some results without being bogged down. Keep in mind I'm new here, but I have done my share of discussion groups. What do you think?

angry mongrel
angry mongrel's picture
I think higher is better. I k
I think higher is better. I know a lot of these have been caught within this site. Walleye is attainable have one on my wall and common27 over the years. The brown and rrainbow maybe switched for the trout to make the challenge... or just up the brown. SomeiI'm sure I won't attain for years if ever. Just the way it goes.

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" -Emiliano Zapata

UpperMi roughangler
UpperMi roughangler's picture
Specimen Awards

What happened to these awards? I just came across this now and think they're an awesome idea. The sizes seem right to me. I've caught some fish that qualify if these are ever going to be resurfaced.

Corey's picture
Specimen Awards

Things got bogged down when people started arguing about how big various "specimens" should be. We can definitely revisit it.