Record wiper caught in Lahontan Reservoir
June 18, 2009
At 1:30 in the morning on June 6, Adam Truran of Fernley found himself casting a silver Rapala into the inky-black waters of Lahontan Reservoir. The night before a full moon, this is a productive way to hook up with the big walleye that lurk in the dark shallows of the lake looking for smaller white bass.
As he cast into the darkness, he felt a powerful strike. A fish was on.
After a 20-minute struggle he beached the largest fish he had ever caught in fresh water. This fish was over 3 feet long and weighed in at 25 pounds, 9 ounces and#8212; large enough to straighten out the hooks on his Rapala.
When daylight came, Truran weighed in Silver Springs and learned the fish, a wiper, was in fact a new state record.
It was the first entry for this specie since Dan Hannum, a former Kokanee and Mackinaw guide at Lake Tahoe, set the record on July 15, 2007. Hannum’s fish was the same length as Truran’s, 36.5 inches. However, the girth on Truran’s wiper measured 33.3 inches while the girth on Hannum’s wiper measured only 27 inches.
The wiper is a hybrid game fish created by matching up a white bass with a striped bass. Generally, white bass males are used to add their genetic material to ripe female striped bass eggs.
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Like mating a donkey to a horse, making a mule, the progeny has the good attributes of both parents. Biologists call this phenomenon and#8220;hybrid vigor.and#8221; In the case of wipers, the progeny have the longevity of striped bass and can attain a size that exceeds 20 pounds.
An added benefit to using hybrids is that the young are not known to successfully reproduce. With these sterile fish, there are no problems with controlling the numbers.
Wipers were first introduced into Lahontan Reservoir in 1993. It was also the first water in the state to receive this specie of fish, which is not found in California.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife obtained 15,000 fingerling from Keo Fish Farms in Keo, Ark., because at that time, the fishery at Lahontan was trying to rebound after receiving the curse of a health advisory that advised anglers to refrain from eating fish with elevated levels of mercury.
Progressive NDOW biologists maintained that anglers would still come to the reservoir to fish each year if they could present a unique angling opportunity. Under that precept, the biologist added wipers and spotted bass to the potpourri of fish species found in the reservoir.
The spotted bass are there in small numbers to this day, but the wipers have made a pretty good showing. Consider that the world record wiper weighed 27 pounds, 5 ounces and#8212; just 2 pounds more than Truran’s wiper.
If the fish that Truran landed was from the initial stocking of wipers in 1993, it would be 16 years old. With the potential to live more than 20 years, there may be more wiper records in store for Lahontan Reservoir.