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New state record smallmouth caught

Mar. 16—Hoosier angler Rex Remington caught an 8-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass on Monroe Lake on March 3, smashing the previous record set in 1992 at Twin Lake in LaGrange County by one pound. The new record fish was released alive back into Monroe Lake.

Smallmouth bass are one of Indiana's three species of black bass, along with largemouth bass and spotted bass. Pound for pound, smallmouth are known among anglers as the most spirited fighters of the black bass. Many anglers associate smallmouth bass with streams and natural lakes, but several Indiana reservoirs consistently have smallmouth catches, including Patoka and Brookville in addition to Monroe.

Fishing for smallmouth in lakes is best in early spring, as they feed aggressively before spawning. As water temperatures warm, smallmouth move into rocky points and flat rocky areas. They are opportunistic carnivores, consuming insects, crayfish, and fish. Lures imitating prey, such as spinnerbaits, crayfish-patterned crankbaits, surface lures, and live minnows or crayfish are effective.

Monroe Lake, in Monroe County just 10 miles south of Bloomington, is Indiana's largest reservoir at 10,750 acres and has nine public boat ramps. More information is at on.IN.gov/monroelake.

In Search Of Alligator Snapping Turtles In Indiana

One of our Indiana Conservation Officers, Max Winchell is working on a project concerning Indiana turtles — particularly alligator snapping turtles. If anyone has heard of sightings or reports of alligator snapping turtles, Max would like to hear about it. Confirmed sightings and first-hand accounts would be the best, but Max is even interested in rumors about the large turtles. Sightings don't have to be recent — even historical accounts are of interest. Photos would be even better.

The historical accounts have all been on the Wabash River, White River (1991) and Patoka Rivers and possibly as late as 2012. The Ohio River and connected waterways like Hovey Lake also provide good alligator snapping turtle habitat.

If anyone else has knowledge of one of the endangered turtles, please let me (Tom Berg Hoosier Outdoor Writers Executive Director) or ICO Max Winchell know.

"It is my opinion," Winchell said, "if a fisherman caught an 80 — 150 pound turtle there is a good chance that he got his mug in the paper holding it. It is even more likely that someone has a picture at home of their grandpa holding an AST from years ago. I just don't know how to find that picture or that news article."

Any help would be appreciated. ICO Max Winchell can be reached at MWinchell@dnr.IN.gov and Tom Berg at thomas.berg@comcast.net .

'till next time,

Jack

Readers can contact Jack Spaulding by writing to this publication, or e-mail at jackspaulding@hughes.net.