The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) says Jeremy Lorenz of Michigan now holds the state record for yellow perch after catching a two pound five ounce fish on Ocoee Number 3 in Polk County, on March 26.
The TWRA says the previous record was a tie, of a two pound three ounce fish taken by Trenton McCoy in January of 2017 and the same size fish taken by Richard Marsich in July of 2018.
The TWRA says Lorenz was visiting a cousin, Eric Reed of Birchwood, to fish for a few days. After purchasing a three day license, Lorenz and his cousin headed to Ocoee Number 3.
Reed had fished there only once and both anglers headed out early with pan fish in mind, on the dreary Tuesday morning. This would be an exploratory trip.
They were on the water by 9:00 a.m. With minnows as bait, they fished several holes in windy, drizzly conditions that lasted throughout the day.
With just a few minnows left, Reed saw a bald eagle. Reed referred to something the men’s grandfather had taught them as children, to watch and learn from nature. They headed to the spot the eagle was circling and decided this would be their last hole before heading to shore.
Just before 4:30 p.m. Lorenz felt the familiar run of the line and thought it might be a bass. He asked Reed to ready the net. The net was under the anchor and Reed reached for the fish with his hands, surprised to see such a large perch.
Cautioning his cousin not to pull too aggressively, he cradled the fish and lifted it in the boat. Lorenz, an angler the majority of his 41 years, was also shocked.
The length of the fish, 15.75 inches, was one of the largest yellow perch he had seen. He stated, “I’m a captain and I’ve fished Lake Erie my entire life and I’ve never seen a perch this large.”
Mike Jolley, Region 3 Reservoir Fisheries Manager stated, “We are happy to see angler success and hear these great stories.”
As for the two cousins fishing, the day couldn’t have ended better when Reed pointed to the bald eagle diving and catching a fish in the same area. Reed said, “Maybe grandpa was with us.”
To find state record fish or to learn more about fishing, visit tnwildlife.org.