11-year-old angler lands Colorado state record smallmouth bass
Conner Peitsmeyer, 11, likely won't remember the frigid 35-degree temperature when out fishing with his father on Nov. 12. What he'll hopefully never forget, however, is becoming Colorado's newest fishing state record holder that morning.
That's when the Aurora, Colo., resident pulled a 6 pound, 8 ounce smallmouth bass out of Aurora Reservoir which eclipsed the previous species state record by 3/4-pound.
A few days before, the youngster had landed his first "big fish" in the same area -- a smallmouth that weighed more than five pounds.
"We had caught quite a few big bass that week, so we knew they were in there," his father, Michael, said. "When he caught that first big one, Conner told me he was shaking, but he wasn't sure if it was from the cold or from the excitement."
Peitsmeyer's catch eclipses the previous state record smallmouth, a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass caught in 1993 by Carl Dewey at Navajo Reservoir.
The bass isn't the only state record fish caught at Aurora Reservoir this fall. On Oct. 4, 20-year-old Jessica Walton, also from Aurora, landed a 43-pound, 6-ounce channel catfish at the reservoir east of Denver.
"Aurora Reservoir has ideal forage conditions to produce very large fish," said Paul Winkle, the Colorado Division of Wildlife aquatic biologist who manages the fishery. "There's an outstanding population of crayfish and yellow perch, which provides an excellent food source for fish to grow to enormous sizes."
The youngest of three brothers, Peitsmeyer loves fishing so much that he said he had saved his birthday and Christmas money to buy his own gear. And now he has an exciting fishing tale to add to it -- an excitement that, it seems, is shared.
"Any time someone lands a new state record, it's exciting for us," said Greg Gerlich, DOW fisheries chief. "It's even more exciting when it is a youngster that pulls in one of these big fish. This is yet another example of how anyone, regardless of age or experience, can have a great day fishing."
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Conner Peitsmeyer, 11, and his state record smallmouth bass. Credit: Colorado Division of Wildlife