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Lewiston man breaks Idaho record with 23.5-inch smallmouth bass

Travis Wendt reeled in the 23.5-inch bass while fishing Dworshak Reservoir in north-central Idaho, breaking the previous smallmouth bass record set in 2020.

CLEARWATER COUNTY, Idaho — A new Idaho catch and release fishing record was set on Tuesday after Travis Wendt of Lewiston hooked a massive smallmouth bass.

Wendt reeled in the 23.5-inch bass while fishing Dworshak Reservoir in north-central Idaho. Two catch and release records have been broken at the reservoir, which owns a world-class reputation for trophy smallmouth bass. 

According to Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG), the previous smallmouth bass record was set in 2020, after Dustin Shepard hooked a 22.75-inch monster. 

Dworshak Reservoir holds all of Idaho's certified weight records for smallmouth bass since 1982, IDFG said. 

Wendt's catch may compete with Idaho's existing certified weight record for smallmouth bass. The top-ranked fish was caught by Dan Steigers in October 2006. Steigers' catch weighed in at 9.72 pounds. 

In October 1995, Steigers also hooked an 8.3-pound fish, which sits at No. 2 on Idaho's certified weight records, behind his 2006 smallmouth bass catch. Don Schiefelbein's 7.35-pound smallmouth bass caught in September 1982 ranks third on the list. 

IDFG said Wendt released the record-breaking bass back into the lake after grabbing the photo included in this article. 

Congratulations to Travis Wendt of Lewiston on landing Idaho's latest state record fish. Travis hooked the massive...

Posted by Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) on Friday, May 13, 2022

"Biologists have learned that big bass in Dworshak have a cyclical pattern, related to the fluctuating numbers of kokanee in the reservoir," Natural Resource Program Coordinator, Martin Koenig wrote. "In years when kokanee are abundant - and usually smaller as a result - they provide the ample food needed to grow supersize smallmouth."

Fish and game biologist Eli Felts started to notice an abundance of kokanee while working on Dworshak Reservoir over the last two years. Felts predicted a record bass was likely coming soon in a March 28 article

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