WATERTOWN — With DNA results this fall, a 1-pound, 9-ounce pumpkinseed fish has tied the state catch record for the species set more than two decades ago.
Jordan Tontarski, of Watertown, was ice fishing on the Black River near the city on Jan. 26, when he reeled in the record-breaking cast.
He took the pumpkinseed to Chaumont Hardware for an official certified weight, and then contacted state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6 biologists.
DEC biologists could not conclusively identify the catch, resembling both pumpkinseed and the bluegill sunfish species, so Mr. Tontarski drove his fish to Albany for identification by ichthyologists, who exclusively study fish, at the New York State Museum.
DEC reports DNA sequencing results have confirmed the fish was a pure pumpkinseed.
The now tied state pumpkinseed record was set in 1994 by R. Kennard Mosher in Indian Lake, Hamilton County, according to the DEC.
Mr. Tontarski’s winning catch was entered in the state’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which tracks fish that meet criteria in three categories — catch and release, annual award and state record.
The Black River pumpkinseed joins two other state records set this year: Morgan Fonzi’s 3-pound, 8-ounce. white bass caught on May 6, from the Lower Niagara River, Niagara County; and Jason Leusch’s 2-pound rock bass caught on May 24, from Port Bay, Wayne County.