FRANKFORT, Ky. – Louisville resident Dennis Rhea won big on Kentucky Oaks Day – not for a bet on a thoroughbred horse running at Churchill Downs, but for a state record saugeye he caught in Shelby County’s Guist Creek Lake.
Rhea was fishing the lake May 3 with Brody, his black Labrador retriever and favorite fishing partner, when something struck his silver minnow-shaped crankbait. He brought the fish to hand after a determined fight: a 6-pound, 13-ounce saugeye, the new Kentucky state record for the species.
“I’ve caught a lot of saugeye the last few years from Guist Creek Lake,” Rhea said. “I like to catch them, I like the way they fight and I love to eat them. They are a beautiful fish.”
The new record saugeye was 26½ inches long with a girth of 14½ inches. It surpasses the old state record saugeye, a 6-pound, 9-ounce brute caught in the Ohio River in 1998 by Chuck Kouns.
Saugeye are a hybrid cross between a walleye and sauger. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources began experimental stockings of saugeye in several small lakes in 2013.
Eight lakes in Kentucky now receive saugeye, including Guist Creek Lake, Boltz and Bullock Pen lakes in Grant County, A.J. Jolly Lake in Campbell County, Lake Carnico in Nicholas County, Carpenter Lake in Daviess County, Wilgreen Lake in Madison County and Taylorsville Lake in Nelson, Anderson and Spencer counties.
Kentucky is home to a variety of species capable of reaching bragging size. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife publishes a yearly guide to the best fishing in the state through its Fishing Forecast. Anglers can find their own copy online at fw.ky.gov by searching under the keywords, “Fishing Forecast.”
Anglers also can buy licenses and check regulations online at fw.ky.gov.