A fisherman pulled a 45-pound catfish from Green Lake Saturday afternoon in what may be the largest fish caught there.
Ahmed Majeed, 35, went to the lake on June 9 and first caught a roughly 30-pound carp about noon.
“Then two hours after that I landed the catfish and that monster was 45 pounds,” Majeed said. “I didn’t think I was going to land it.”
His line had a capacity for a 20-pound fish. As it got close to the shore, a friend helped with a net.
“I didn’t think I was going to land it. … When I got the fish out of the water the hook was already bent.”
Majeed talked to KIRO 7 about the catch and what it felt like to haul it in. See that interview – and footage of him on Green Lake that day – on KIRO 7 News at 7 p.m.
Seattle Parks and Recreation Department doesn’t keep track of records for fish caught in Green Lake, but spokeswoman Rachel Schulkin said “the one caught this past weekend might be the largest.” The State Department of Fish and Wildlife thinks so, too.
The channel catfish Majeed caught is estimated to be at least 15 years old. And other fishermen think the catch is legit.
"With as many trout get planted every year in that lake, there's plenty of food," said Brad Hole, a renowned kayak fisherman who caught his personal best Largemouth Bass at Green Lake a couple years ago. In 2013, Hole caught a roughly 80-pound halibut and set a record for the largest catch out of a small craft in the lower 48 states.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife annually adds trout to Green Lake, which is most popular for carp, but has also added catfish. Fishing is allowed there year-round with a standard Washington fishing license for freshwater, and the lake also has unofficially added large mouth bass and rock bass.
By the time Majeed left Green Lake after his catch on Saturday, post offices were closed. He didn’t think he could get an official weight on the catfish.
“I have no doubt this fish probably broke the record,” said Bruce Bolding, Fish and Wildlife’s warmwater fish program manager said. “But unfortunately it didn’t get weighed on a proper scale.”
To qualify for a record, people don’t have to use a state scale or one at the post office – anything that is commonly called a certified scale will work, though the Weights and Measures Program staff said there’s no way to know a scale is always calibrated.
Going to a grocery store or any place with a certified scale is acceptable as long as the person running the scale can be a witness, Bolding said. From there, save the fish in a refrigerator or freezer until it can be identified by a state biologist to verify the species. The state record application form is posted online here.
The current record for a channel catfish, the kind that Majeed caught in Green Lake, is 36.2 pounds. Sport angler Ross Kincaid caught that on Sept. 5, 1999, at a highway pond near Yakima, Interstate 82 pond No. 6.
Majeed, who is 6-foot-2, said he caught the catfish and carp with a method feeder and hair rig with fake corn.
It’s possible the catfish Majeed caught is more than 20 years old. Fish and Wildlife stocked Green Lake with catfish in 1997, 1998, and every year between 2000 and 2005. They also added catfish in 2011 and 2014.
The last catfish addition to Green Lake before 1997 was in 1988, though the fish Majeed caught is not believed to be that old, said Bolding, whose own fish record in Washington was a 32-pound chinook salmon caught in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Majeed, who works at Microsoft and works in Bellevue, said the catfish was the largest fish he’s caught in Washington. A native of Iraq, Majeed once caught a similar sized grass carp there at age 15, which furthered his love of fishing.
“I think there are more monsters in there, especially in the spot I was in,” said Majeed, who was on the east side of Green Lake, not far from Spud Fish and Chips.
A Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist is going to meet with Majeed, who kept part of the fish carcass in his freezer.
“We’ll take a piece and cut it crossways, and they have little growth rings in their spines so we can count those and tell how old it is,” Bolding said.
The chance for the state record went away when the fish was filleted. But that wasn’t all bad.
“It was like halibut meat,” Majeed said. “It tasted awesome.”
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