If Vic Zendron's 47-pound flathead catfish becomes the new state record, Pennsylvania will join two other states where catfish records have been shattered this year.
Georgia's new record is 83 pounds and South Dakota's is 63.5 pounds. South Dakota's James River is the premier flathead water in that region, while flatheads are an introduced species on Georgia's Altamaha River.
Best bass ever
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission report the best sampling for smallmouth bass of more than 12 inches and more than 15 inches this summer on the free-flowing Allegheny River between President and East Brady.
In four hours of electro-fishing in late August at East Brady, Kennerdell and President, biologists caught a total of 445 smallmouths from 4 to 19 3/4 inches. They averaged 3.5 smallmouths of more than 15 inches per hour, compared with zero per hour in a similar survey 15 years ago. Biologists also report an excellent 2005 year class.
For more detailed information, visit www.fish.state.pa.us
Best for paddling
The Allegheny River for 85 miles from the Kinzua Dam to Emlenton has made the American Canoe Association's annual list of outstanding paddling destinations for 2006. The ACA also chose Conodoguinet Creek in southcentral Pennsylvania as one of the 12 best water trails in the U.S. this year.
The ACA bases its selections on public accessibility, map and trail guide support and other appealing features. For more information, visit www.fish.state.pa.us
A Family Tyes' steelhead fishing course will begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Baldwin High School, Room 120, and continue every Monday for nine weeks.
Fly tying, casting, fishing techniques and other aspects of steelheading will be covered at a cost of $40. An overnight trip to Erie Thanksgiving weekend will be extra. Register with Mike Engelhardt at ENG0070@cup.edu or Rich Jones at 412-882-1873.
Six West Penn Junior Bass Anglers will compete at Raystown Saturday against four other teams for the state title, and as individuals vying for a berth in the BASS Junior National Championship in conjunction with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic in Alabama in February.
The West Penn team includes Jared Drover of Monroeville, Matt Grassinger of Murrsyville, Daniel Grassinger of Greensburg, Stephanie Gishinsky of Polish Hill, Mike Salerno of Tarentum and Chris Jurich of Trafford. Anglers will compete in age groups.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is seeking nominations for awards that recognize individuals who have advanced conservation or fisheries access. The prestigious Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award is given annually to the person who protects and enhances aquatic resources in the state. It is named for former commission executive director Abele, who was known for his resource-first agenda.
The Paul J. Mahon Access for All Award -- new this year and named for former commissioner Mahon, who was himself physically challenged -- will recognize an individual who has helped expand opportunities for disabled anglers.
Nominations must be postmarked by Oct. 14 and submitted to Executive Office, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Box 67000, Harrisburg, Pa. 17106-7000.
Rare species to be studied
The Fish and Boat Commission will use more than $365,000 in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds to perform pre-dredging and post-dredging sampling for rare fish and other species on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers.
Penn State University will perform the Ohio River sampling and California University of Pennsylvania will sample 62 miles of the Allegheny River to help the commission learn more about little-known fishes and how their habitat can be better protected.
Ground was broken recently on the Hunting and Fishing Museum of Pennsylvania on 22-acre Lighthouse Island on the Allegheny River near Tionesta. About half the $12 million needed to build the 25,000 square foot museum has been raised so far, according to executive director Julia McCray, who said construction could begin next year. For more, visit www.huntfishmuseum.org
Play it safe
Youngsters ages 4 to 15 have the chance to promote safe boating through essays, videos and posters in the second annual Boating Safety Sidekicks contest. This year's theme is "I'm a Safe Boater, Are You?" Prizes will be awarded by age groups and will include savings bonds, life jackets and caps. The contest deadline is Jan. 7, 2007. For more, visit www.boatingsidekicks.com.