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Maryland angler catches state record fallfish

BALTIMORE, MD—A Maryland man has set a new state fishing record.

Blake Cronk, of Westernport (Allegany County), 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.

Cronk caught the 3.2-pound fish on April 1 while fishing in the North Branch of the Potomac River, below the Piedmont Bridge in the Westernport area. He was fishing with worms and spinners in an area where he had caught several good-sized trout, and is also known to have frequent occurrences of large fallfish.

“My friend thought I had a nice brown trout at first, but I thought it might be a big fallfish since it was fighting differently (than a trout),” Cronk said. “We have a lot of fun catching these big fallfish.”

To make the catch sweeter, Cronk caught the fish on a new light-spinning rod and reel he had just recently purchased.

The fish was weighed on a certified scale at Martin’s Grocery Store in Keyser, West Virginia. The species was confirmed by Maryland 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 because they grow to more than 19 inches long, fight hard, and often make acrobatic jumps after being hooked.

Cronk’s catch broke the previous record 3.0-pound fish caught by Bryson Meyers of Oakland on June 16, 2023.

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.

Photo: Blake Cronk with his Maryland state record fallfish, photo courtesy of Blake Cronk & MDDNR

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