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Youth Angler Catches Maryland State Record Fallfish

An Allegany County youth has been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a new state record holder for fallfish – Semotilus corporalis — in the state’s nontidal division.

Crosby Abe, 14, caught the 2.27-pound fish May 29 while fishing on the North Branch of the Potomac River, near the Cumberland Industrial Park boat launch. 

The young angler was fishing from shore using a light spinning rod, 6-pound test line, and a metal spinner. The lure was a small, silver-bodied metal spinner with a gold, spotted blade. Abe said he fishes that area often for smallmouth bass and trout.

“When I first hooked the fish, I thought it was a nice smallmouth (bass), until I saw it jump once, and then I knew it was a fallfish,” Abe said.

The impressive fish was 19.5 inches long and its weight was determined on a certified scale at Martin’s Market, Cumberland. The species was confirmed by Department of Natural Resources biologist Matt Sell.

The fallfish is actually a chub in the family Cyprinidae, and is the largest minnow species native to eastern North America and the mid-Atlantic region. Fallfish have become popular for sportfishing in Maryland and other mid-Atlantic states since they grow to more than 19 inches long, fight hard, and often make acrobatic jumps after being hooked.

Abe’s catch broke the record of 2.14 pounds, held since April 2021 by Maxwell Diegel of Harford County – also a youth angler, who was 13 at the time.

The Department of Natural Resources maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and complete a state record application and call 443-569-1398 to report a potential state record catch. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified.

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