PIERRE – Odd as it may sound, Rebecca Zirbel of Ortley, South Dakota set a new state record with a fish that weighed less than a pound.
The orange-spotted sunfish officially weighed .550 ounces. It was 3.62 inches in length with a girth of 3.34 inches. Zirbel caught the record-breaking fish on June 23, 1999 on the Big Sioux River in Grant County.
Fisheries Administrator Dennis Unkenholz said if an angler should catch a possible state record fish, the first thing to do is get it weighed on a certified scale.
"Under South Dakota rules, the weight must be rounded down to the nearest ounce. To replace the existing record, a fish must weigh at least one ounce more. If it breaks the record by less than an ounce, the two fish will be listed as co-holders of the record, " Unkenholz said.
Once a possible state record has been caught, anglers should also contact a Game, Fish and Parks official who will positively identify the fish and sign a record fish form. In cases where positive identification of the species is difficult, a qualified ichthyologist may have to look at the fish.