Pueblo Fisherman Reels In Record Catfish

By Bill Vogrin

A Cañon City man fishing in Lake Pueblo State Park has reeled in a state record flathead catfish, for weight.

Michael Flock, of Cañon City, proudly displays a flathead catfish he caught on Father’s Day, June 18, at Lake Pueblo. The fish weighed in at 30 pounds, 9.6 ounces and set the state record. Photo courtesy Michael Flock.

Fishing from a boat with his family on Father’s Day, June 18, Michael Flock landed a flathead that weighed in at 30 pounds, 9.6 ounces and measured 38 inches long.

“For Father’s Day, my mom, dad, sister and nephews went out on my parents’ boat on Lake Pueblo,” said Flock, 21. “We’d been trolling all morning, catching walleye and bass. I put on a really large Rapala clown lure, with a 2-inch red head and 7 inches of white body. I cast it out there and let it troll with the boat. It dove real deep.”

Flock said he watched the end of his rod bend straight over as they slowly cruised the west end of Lake Pueblo where the Arkansas River enters.

“I thought I was snagged because we were so close to the bank,” he said. “I yelled to my mom to put it in reverse. That’s when my drag took off and I knew I wasn’t snagged. Using a lure that big, I couldn’t imagine what it was.”

Flock said the fish put up a terrific fight.

“Every time I got it near the surface, he’d dive back down,” Flock said. “It was intense. Finally, I pulled him up and my dad grabbed the net. Everybody on the boat was cheering. It was a fantastic experience on Father’s Day with my dad.”

Flock’s catch erases the previous record set on Jan. 19, 2015, by Tony Chavez of La Junta, who caught a 27-pound flathead catfish below John Martin Reservoir, about 20 miles west of Lamar off U.S. Highway 50. That fish weighed more than double the state’s previous record flathead catfish, caught in 2011. Chavez said he used chicken liver as bait for his catch.

The news of Flock’s big catch didn’t shock Carrie Tucker, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist. She said Lake Pueblo is producing huge catfish of several species.

“There have been a couple record catfish taken from Lake Pueblo in the past and I’m glad the record is back at Lake Pueblo,” Tucker said. “I think it shows our catfish population is doing well.

“I’ve gotten reports of monstrous channel cats, close to the state record. We haven’t seen high numbers of flatheads in recent years. But in the past couple years, we’ve had successful stockings of flatheads, which may explain the resurgence in that population.”

While Colorado’s record flathead catfish are growing, they are far from being national records. Flatheads weighing 50 pounds or more are common in Midwestern states. And the world record for flathead catfish is more than 120 pounds.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife tracks fish records by weight in 46 different species categories. Potential record-holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16.

To be considered, a fish must be weighed on a state-certified scale and a weight receipt must be signed by a witness. Then the fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a CPW biologist or district wildlife manager before an application is submitted. The biologist or wildlife manager will fill out and return the application form​ to the Sportfish Program Manager in Denver.

To view other state fishing records, visit this website.

CPW also offers an award program for catch-and-release anglers as well.

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