Angler Chad Hester grabbed and released a funky 36-pound mudcat from the Mississippi River in Missouri while dipping Asian carp for bait. Hester was fishing at night with a friend on the Big Muddy when he landed the Magpie Catfish in the wee hours of the morning of October 12. The specimen fits the description of “magpie” perfectly due to the blue and white speckled markings on its skin. The genetic disease is known as leucism and can affect animals and humans. Hester photographed the fish and took video of it swimming at the time of release. He plans to have a mount replica made by a taxidermist and has not seriously considered keeping the fish.
“He can spread his genes in the wild and someone else might have the opportunity to catch him,” Hester Recount Fox2 now. ” I panicked. I was like, ‘the sacred cow!’ â
Piebald catfish are certainly rare, but thanks to social media and the public interest in these creatures, we are seeing and hearing about them more and more. When Field & Flow reported on a magpie catfish that was recently caught in the Tennessee River, many other anglers responded to our Facebook post with comments on their own similar catches. A reader pulled a magpie from Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee. Another caught one in the James River in Virginia. Overall, fishermen commented with photos of catches in lakes and rivers in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.
Louisiana angler Robyn Bordelon caught a 10-pound magpie catfish in March 2020, also in the Mississippi River. She was pitcher fishing with cut mullet to catch a mess of catfish for the dinner table when she pulled out a pitcher and found the 10-pound magpie. Like many other fishermen who catch one, Bordelon released the fish after taking pictures.
âI’ve been kayaking blue cats on the river for nine years, but this one will be remembered more than anyone else. Â»Bordelon Recount Louisiana sportsman. âI’ve seen pictures of blue catfish with this genetic defect before and sure enough you tag them in your head but I never thought I would catch one. I quickly captured it, took pictures, threw it back and happily watched it swim.
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The Lower Mississippi Conservation Committee (LMRCC) collected over 33,600 blue, flathead, and channel catfish for research between 1997 and 2014. In total, the group only documented two blue magpie catfish during their 17 years. of work. The two were captured in Mississippi, one near Vicksburg and one near Greenville. A third was reported to the group in 2012 that was captured by fishery biologists from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks. The LMRCC notes that âThe explanations for the coloring of the pie-blues will probably remain a mystery due to their extreme rarity. Whether this rarity is due to low occurrences, or high predation on larger fish stimulated by their remarkable appearance, is speculative.