In mid-June, 2011, a North Carolina man caught a 143-pound Blue Catfish in Buggs Island Lake (also called Kerr Reservoir), an impoundment of the Staunton River (a portion of the Roanoke River) in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Once certified, the catch was expected to be a world-record for Blue Catfish. Virginia fishery officials commented after the catch that the relatively short time that Blue Catfish have been in Buggs Island Lake (only since the late 1980s) and the input of food-chain stimulating nutrients from upstream agriculture of the reservoir combine to provide the potential for predators like Blue Catfish to grow very large. The spread of non-native Blue Catfish has caught the attention of fishery managers in Virginia and neighboring states. Since August 2010, officials from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin have been working to develop a coordinated strategy to manage Blue Catfish in tidal river sections. Native in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio river basins, Blue Catfish have been stocked in several Virginia rivers for many years. In Virginia, the species is now widespread in tidal streams and rivers, especially in Virginia’s James and Rappahannock rivers, and the large Blue Catfish populations can diminish other species, such as Channel Catfish and White Catfish. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) information on Blue Catfish is online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/fish/details.asp?fish=010390.
Sources: Is blue cat catch a man-made record?, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/24/11; and Virginian-Pilot, 8/30/10.