Illinois Department of Natural Resources

May 25, 2005

IDNR Announces World's Largest Blue Catfish Caught
Fish Landed in Illinois Waters Near Alton

ALTON, ILL. -The world's largest catfish was caught in Illinois. Bethalto Fisherman Tim Pruitt caught the blue catfish at around midnight on Saturday, May 21st.

The blue catfish weighed 124 pounds. It was 58 inches long, and had a girth of 44 inches. It was the largest catfish ever caught in Illinois, and the largest blue catfish ever caught in the world. The previous Illinois record catfish was 85 pounds, and the previous world record blue catfish was 121 pounds, eight ounces.

"That part of the Mississippi River is full of fish," said Mike Conlin, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director of Resource Conservation. "Tim fought the fish for about forty minutes, and it dragged him more than three miles downstream in his boat before he was able to haul it in."

Conlin says Pruitt was fishing with thirty-pound test line, using moon eye fish for bait. He was fishing below the Melvin Price Lock and Dam at Alton. Conlin describes Pruitt as a long-time hobby fisherman.

"I don't know if there's another fish quite that big down there, but there are certainly more very sizable catfish in that same region," said IDNR District Biologist Fred Cronin.

"The fishing is just spectacular right now. It's certainly not unusual to pull fifty pound cat fish out of those waters."

The fish died while being transported by employees of a store, which had planned to put it on display. The cause of the fish's death is undetermined.


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