Record-breaking black crappie and redear sunfish caught in Jackson and Fayette counties

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Jim Justice announced today that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has reported that a record-breaking black crappie and redear sunfish were caught in June.

“With these record catches, anglers continue to show the world that West Virginia is truly a world-class fishing destination,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to congratulate the anglers who made these incredible catches for inspiring the rest of us to get out there and enjoy the thrill of casting lines in our state’s truly amazing waters.”

Click here to see photos of the record catches.

Craig Webb of Gandeeville, W.Va., caught a 2.85-pound, 17.32-inch black crappie with a baby shad jig at Woodrum Lake in Jackson County on June 9. The catch, which was verified by WVDNR assistant fisheries biologist Cory Hartman, is the first record catch for the black crappie category since the WVDNR added the species to the state record list in January 2024.

John Plott of Oak Hill, W.Va., caught a 1.75-pound, 12-inch redear sunfish with a nightcrawler at Plum Orchard Lake in Fayette County on June 6. The catch, which was verified by WVDNR fisheries biologist Joel Slabe, is the first record catch for the redear sunfish category, which was also added to the state record list in January 2024.

“We’re excited to celebrate these new state records,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “These achievements showcase the quality of our fisheries and the success of our conservation efforts. We encourage all anglers to explore the abundant fishing opportunities throughout West Virginia.”

WVDNR Fish Tagging Studies

Both record fish were caught in lakes where the WVDNR’s Fish Management team is conducting tagging studies. The record crappie was tagged last year at Woodrum Lake. The WVDNR’s fish tagging program helps biologists better manage the state’s fish population and improve angler satisfaction by providing a variety of information about fish movement, population numbers, harvest rates, size selectivity and growth rates. 

The WVDNR offers rewards, including Cabela’s gift cards, to anglers who report tagged fish. If you catch a tagged fish in any West Virginia waterbody, call the number on the tag, your local WVDNR district office or email and provide the following information:

  • Species
  • Tag Number
  • Date of Catch
  • Location of Catch (if a river, include the closest landmark)
  • Was the fish harvested or released? (if released, indicate if the tag was removed)
  • Anglers Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number

For more information about fishing in West Virginia, state record fish or to purchase a fishing license, visit