IGFA Awaits World-record Kokanee Documents

IGFA officials will be checking their mailbox next week for a package from Pendleton, Ore.

“We’re waiting on Ron to submit the record and we’ll go from there,” says Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the Florida-based International Game Fish Association.

Ron would be one Ron Campbell, the gent who caught that 9-pound, 10.7-ounce kokanee last Sunday morning, the latest in a string of record-wreckers to come out of the Northeast Oregon’s Wallowa Lake.

CAMPBELL AND HIS SUPER-SIZED KOKANEE LAKESIDE AT WHAT ONE MAN DUBBED "WOWLOWA" LAKE. (RON CAMPBELL)

His is the pending world record, and is at least 4.7 ounces heavier than the standing mark, a BC fish caught in 1988.

To certify it, Campbell must send IGFA a hank of his fishing leader, weight certifications and an application form, says Vitek.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he says.

Then there will be a minimum 60-day waiting period from June 13 before it’s approved officially.

That’s to give other anglers a chance to try and catch an even bigger kokanee.

With the way things are going there this year, that’s probable. Already, Wallowa’s given up 8.85, 8.23 and 7.5 state records in 2010’s first six months, as well as more than a few 7-, 6- and 5-pounders.

And the feeling is that there may be an even bigger koke in the lake too.

Campbell himself thinks that.

The week before he gained regional notoriety, he hooked into something big but lost it.

Who’s to say whether it was the fish he caught last Sunday, but stranger things have happened.

For instance, according to Bestfishinginoregon, Campbell himself held the Oregon largemouth record, an 11-pounder from McKay Reservoir.

Plus his brother, Larry, caught the-then state-mark koke out of Wallowa back in 2000. That fish was around half the size of Ron’s.

Wallowa’s remarkable productivity of large kokanee is being credited to a low number of fish in a recent year class and mysis shrimp. Introduced to the lake in the 1960s following what appeared to be a successful experiment to grow bigger kokes at a BC lake, the light-sensitive freshwater crustaceans aren’t normally available to the sight-feeding kokanee except at either end of daylight. However, some of the landlocked salmon appear to have adapted to feeding on the shrimp.

Vitek will be going through the 25 to 30 record applications he receives each week in search of the Campbell family’s latest monster.

I was actually surprised at the volume of mail IGFA gets, but he outlined a host of categories anglers can apply to.

There’s the all-tackle category for all game fish caught on line under 132 pounds of breaking strength.

Then there are the line-class records, which are subdivided into male and female categories.

Fly fishermen have their own book, broken into saltwater records for men and women, and a single freshwater group.

And the kids have two categories, Junior for 11- to 16-year-olds and Small Fry for youngsters to age 10. Both groups are subdivided by sex as well.

“For argument’s sake, for Atlantic sailfish, there would be male Junior, female Junior, male Small Fry and female Small Fry record holders,” Vitek says.

And for argument’s sake, we’ll say that Wallowa’s run ain’t done — 10-pounder, anyone?

EDITOR’S NOTE: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS STORY MISIDENTIFIED JACK VITEK OF IGFA AS JASON VITEK. OUR APOLOGIES.

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One Response to “IGFA Awaits World-record Kokanee Documents”

  1. Ron Campbell Says:

    The Kokanee was certified as the new National record and 10 lb line record by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. The IGFA announcement is expected shortly. Happy Trails -Ron

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