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Westmoreland

Some of the state's biggest fish caught in 2017 were in Southwestern Pa. waters

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, April 5, 2018, 11:27 a.m.
Joel Scekeres of Mt. Pleasant poses with a largemouth bass he caught in August at Mammoth Park Lake in Mt. Pleasant Township. Scekeres' fish was the biggest of its species caught in Pennsylvania in 2017 and submitted through the Fish and Boat Commission's Angler Award Program. The fish was 25 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces.
Submitted
Joel Scekeres of Mt. Pleasant poses with a largemouth bass he caught in August at Mammoth Park Lake in Mt. Pleasant Township. Scekeres' fish was the biggest of its species caught in Pennsylvania in 2017 and submitted through the Fish and Boat Commission's Angler Award Program. The fish was 25 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces.

Some of the biggest fish caught in Pennsylvania last year hail from Southwestern Pennsylvania.

One of them ended up at the other end of Joel Scekeres' line in August.

Scekeres, of Hecla, was fishing at Mammoth Park Lake in Mt. Pleasant Township with a group of friends when he decided to try a different type of bait.

A few casts later, he hooked a largemouth bass.

"I didn't know it was going to be as big as it was," said Scekeres, a junior at Penn State University.

Turns out, it was the biggest largemouth bass caught in the entire state last year.

At first, "it was coming in like a log," he said. But then it got close to shore.

"It's started taking off, going crazy," Scekeres said. "That's when the real fight started."

A friend went to the water with a net and retrieved the fish. Scekeres took photos and videos and measured the fish before putting it back in the water. It was 25 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces.

He got a replica mount.

"That was the only fish I caught all day and we were there for hours," he said.

From Loyalhanna Lake in Westmoreland County to the Ohio River, anglers had some impressive catches in 2017, according to an annual report from the state Fish and Boat Commission.

A few of the biggest locally-caught fish in Pennsylvania last year that were submitted to the commission's Angler Award Program:

• The biggest smallmouth bass came from the Allegheny River in June caught by Steven Saul Barnett of East Hickory. The fish was 24.5 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

• The biggest channel catfish was caught by David Planinsek of Latrobe out of the Youghiogheny River in June. The fish weighed 29 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 23.5 inches.

• Two of the biggest suckers were pulled out of the Allegheny River. John Rotto Sr. of North Apollo had the largest in May at 22 inches long and 4 pounds, 12 ounces. Megan McIntyre of Kittanning had the fourth-biggest in June that measured 18 inches.

• Jenalee Kostella of Home had the second-biggest smallmouth bass which was caught at Keystone Lake in Derry Township in July. The fish was 22.5 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce.

• The second-biggest crappie was caught at Mammoth Park Lake by Kevin E. Green of Mt. Pleasant in April. That fish was 15.5 inches long and weighed 3 pounds.

• Two men each caught two of the biggest bluegill at Loyalhanna Lake in Loyalhanna Township on the same day in June. Rotto had the second- and fourth-biggest bluegill, one measuring 11.5 inches and weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces and the second measuring 11 inches and weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces.

• Chad Umbaugh of New Kensington had the third- and fifth-biggest bluegill, both measuring 12 inches. One fish weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces and the second weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces.

• The third-biggest muskie was pulled out of Loyalhanna Lake in June by Daniel Dibartola of Greensburg. The fish weighed 34 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 42 inches.

• James William Hoffman of Industry had several big catches out of the Ohio River.

In February, he caught the fourth-largest stripe-lake bass at 27 inches long and weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces. The same month, he caught the fifth-biggest muskie at 41.5 inches and weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces.

In May, he had the third-largest rock bass at 10 inches long and weighing 15 ounces.

In October, he caught the second-biggest sheepshead, measuring 28 inches long and weighing 10 pounds, 15 ounces.Applications for the program are due at the end of February for the previous year and must include photos and measurements of the catch, whether it is kept or not. See the entire list here .

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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