After 70 years, S.D. strips man of his catfish record

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks takes catfish pretty seriously.

For 70 years, Roy Groves held the record for the biggest channel catfish ever caught in South Dakota — 55 pounds.

But the agency took a look at old photographs in the newspaper and last Friday stripped Groves — long deceased — of his record, his grandson says.

It wasn’t a channel catfish, the agency said. It was a blue catfish.

The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks is taking away my Great Grandfather’s state record away because they don’t think by…

Posted by James Labesky on Friday, May 17, 2019

Really, though, who cares?

Geno Adams, fisheries program administrator for Game, Fish and Parks.

“Since day one there’s been questions,” he tells the Argus Leader newspaper. Multiple emails and calls come into the department, all saying ‘you know that’s not a channel catfish.’

“There’s just a lot of information that doesn’t line up to make that a channel catfish. And in the last few years it just became overwhelming.”

“Ever since I started working for GFP, anglers have believed it was not a channel catfish, many of my colleagues have seen that picture and have quickly said that Mr. Groves’ fish is a blue catfish,” Adams said in a press release. ”I sent the picture to two South Dakota State University fisheries professors and fish identification experts, and both agreed. We feel that, while this is a great fish and a great story, it is time to open the channel catfish category and start fresh.”

Adams says the decision wasn’t made lightly. But Groves’ family is upset because authorities didn’t bother to let the family know grandpa’s record was being wiped out.

“They could have let us know,” his granddaughter tells the Argus Leader. “I just think it was handled very poorly. He was always so proud of how many hours he spent pulling all those fish in.”

The family thinks the record was removed for marketing purposes.

The fisheries agency started #CatRush2019, inviting people to try to set the new record.