Bluegill Fishing photo

Here’s an interesting little news snippet I came across. On September 11, angler Richard Pardee hooked what he thought was the “biggest bluegill of his life” in Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago. Nope, guess again.


From the Fon Du Lac Reporter:

Marine experts said it may be a piranha, a carnivorous aggressive fish, or a pacu, a species that prefers fruit and vegetation. Both belong in the Amazon, so it’s unlikely either would survive a Wisconsin winter, said Kendall Kamke, DNR senior fisheries biologist.

“The thing was probably hanging on as it was,” he said.

Kamke said officials aren’t certain but they’re leaning toward a pacu, based on information they’ve obtained from aquarium dealers. He said Pardee’s catch seemed a bit large for a piranha and the teeth resembled a human infant’s — a common pacu characteristic.

Obviously the fish was an unwanted aquarium pet. In my lifetime, three piranhas have made my local papers after getting ripped out of the Delaware River by catfishermen. Then there was a guy who hooked into a big, fat, tarpon-like arowana in the Delaware one summer pitching a popper for smallmouth. That river is a notorious dumping ground for tropical fish.

Wisconsin DNR said they’d probably let Pardee keep this fish to have it mounted. If you caught something whacky like this in your home water, even if you knew someone dumped it, would you flaunt it and think is was cool? Or would you feel it just didn’t count? I have to admit, if I bagged a 20-pound Amazonian arowana in New Jersey, I’d be a little jazzed. You caught it fair and square, no matter how it got there. – JC