He thought it was a carp, but it turned out to be a record-setting catfish. Rock Springs angler Christian Cosby was fishing with his buddy Brandon Chadwick near Anvil Draw on Flaming Gorge Reservoir June 24th when he hauled in the channel catfish. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, it weighed 28.52 pounds, measured 39 inches long, and had a girth of 23.25 inches. He was using a chunk of sucker meat on a six pound test line.

“I yelled, 'Holy cow it’s a catfish!'” Cosby said. “I thought maybe it was a carp. I pulled it as close as I could get it to the shore in the shallow water. Then I jumped in the water, stuck my hand in his mouth and pulled it onto the shore. I was afraid he was going to jump off the line.”

There's no doubt Cosby's fish is a very old one, says Wyoming Game and Fish Department Green River Fisheries Supervisor Robb Keith.  “A quick Internet search suggests the oldest catfish on record was 40 years old,” Keith said. “We last stocked channel catfish in Flaming Gorge Reservoir in 2008. Channel catfish stocking in the Gorge was stopped because we were having a hard time finding a source of catfish free of aquatic invasive species.”

“He was full of crayfish and what looked like eggs or bugs,” Cosby said. “He was in only 18 inches of water; maybe up eating carp eggs, or chillin’ in the warm water because it was nice, warm water in that shallow cove. It was right in the middle of the day; about 1:00. I have fished a lot in Alabama where I lived and I’ve fished the Gorge for big lake trout and kokanee salmon, but never for catfish. I feel like I must be the luckiest person.”

Another Rock Springs angler held the previous state record for channel catfish, also caught in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. On April 27th, 2005, Don Ackerman caught a catfish that weighed 27.99 pounds, was 38 inches long, and had a girth of 26 inches.

Game and Fish says anglers who want to submit a state record fish need to follow the rules for doing so:

  • Fish must be weighed on a certified scale for legal trade. Most post offices or places of commerce are typically certified.
  • Fish must be caught on a rod, reel and line or pole and not snagged.
  • Fish caught from private clubs or hatchery waters, or ponds not accessible for the angling public, are ineligible.
  • The fish species must also be verified by the WGFD and be taken legally according to Wyoming Game and Fish Regulations.

“We also took the fish to Staples to get weighed-in and we got a lot of funny looks,” Cosby said. “They made us take the fish outside after about five minutes. They said it was making the store smell. We felt like real hillbillies. Afterwards, I took the catfish home because I plan to eat it!!”

If you think you've caught a record fish, Game and Fish Officials say you can check the list of record fish to see if yours might be a contender. If so, submit your record with the Official Wyoming State Fish Record Application. Print and fill out the application and send it in. You can find applications and more information on state record fish on the  WGFD website at:

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Fishing-and-Boating/State-Record-Fish