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What's the biggest freshwater fish you've ever seen?

Discussion in 'Non-Diving Related Stuff' started by fritzer, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. fritzer

    fritzer Guest

    Did some diving this weekend in the local lake and came across what looked like an old cabin cruiser.... In the murky water was super spooky! When I was telling a friend at work about it (non-diver) he started telling me about "the friend of a friend" (!) that had seen a monster catfish as "big as a Toyota truck". Funny how you never hear these stories personally from actual divers! I've heard of catfish weighing well over 100 lbs but nothing of these kind of proportions.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if any divers out there have actually seen freshwater fish that were big enough to give them a scare, and what lake did you see them in?
  2. j-valve

    j-valve Nassau Grouper

    I was hit by a fish on a night dive, and I'm glad I didn't see him... I have a picture on the wall at the cottage of a sturgeon from the St Lawrence just east of Cornwall that was about 6-7 ft. Look out near the shipping channel!!

  3. Rick Murchison

    Rick Murchison Trusty Shellback Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    Other than Bull Sharks, you mean?
    Saw a sturgeon once captured in a lock that was about eight feet long. The biggest thing other than an alligator I've ever seen in fresh water while in there with it was an alligator gar about four feet long - probably in the eighty pound range.
  4. jbichsel

    jbichsel Instructor, Scuba

    Lake Travis, near Austin TX - on multiple occasions I and friends have seen and fed hotdogs to catfish in the 6-8' range. Takes some getting used to. Need to have your gloves on tight since their mouths are huge and create quite a suction when they take the 'dog.
  5. Stone

    Stone Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: We live in Valparaiso, FL and dive out of Destin,
    The Aquarium in Chatanooga, TN has some Amazon river catfish that tip the scales at (I believe) 500 lbs.
  6. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Instructor, Scuba

    6 foot ,give or take, mostly give, paddle fish

    I've seen crapies that were too big to be crapies and bass that were too big to be bass but they weren't as big as the paddle fish.
  7. aso4

    aso4 Angel Fish

    In the Smith River which is the only undammed river in the state of California, there are Salmon the size of sharks, it is also a great river to dive because in some areas along the river it can get as deep as 60 feet! However the water temperature is very cold because the rivers intake is mostly from underwater resources and snowmelt, so very chilly. the water is crystal clear, the Smith is considered one of the cleanest rivers in the United States, it is located on the border between Orgeon and California.

    About catfish that big, I live in Nevada County this summer, about an hour above Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, one lake called Bullards Bar is very big, and I've been told that when the dam engineers went down to do work on it, they witnessed catfish the size of VW buses! This frightened them off the job, and the people who finished the job had to go down in Shark Tanks, because who knows what a catfish that big could do to you! Anyways I did not see these with my own eyes, however knowing this lake I am not the least bit surprised.

  8. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Instructor, Scuba


    There are cat fish stories like that in every area that has a dam. I've heard that same story all over the country.

    i also have some pictures of catfish at home of unbelievable sizes. All were cought by hand. Except for startled beginners I've never seen a diver afraid of a cat fish. LOL
  9. Dee

    Dee ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: near Houston, Texas
    In Lake Travis, Austin, Texas....Flathead catfish in the 6-7ft range. In Twin Lakes, Manvel, Texas....Bass in the 28-30" range! Easily 5-6" wide across the back at the gills. Also crappie too big for a dinner plate.
  10. landlocked

    landlocked Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: South Eastern Idaho USA
    I've heard the same story about trout here in Idaho in reference to every man made lake we have. Personally, I would love to see that! Fish don't scare divers. Divers seek them out. :D

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