Angler snags world-record paddlefish during snagging season opening weekend

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. –  The 2024 paddlefish snagging season is off to a great start after an angler reeled in a world record fish at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Chad Williams of Olathe, Kansas for snagging a 164-pound, 13-ounce paddlefish at the Lake of the Ozarks March 17. The fish not only breaks the previous state record of 140 pounds, but also the previous world record of 164 pounds.

“I was lucky enough to get invited to go out snagging with friends,” Williams said. “I’d never been snagging before. Never seen a paddlefish – didn’t even know what it was!”

Shortly into the snagging trip, Williams hooked into something massive.

“I was thinking I was extremely weak because it was taking so long to reel in. My body was aching,” he recalled.

After the fish made it onto the boat, the group immediately knew it was a record. They later met MDC Fisheries and Protection staff at Three Brothers Meat Company in Montreal to weigh the fish on a certified scale. This makes the second state record caught in 2024.

Williams said he and his wife kept some of the paddlefish meat and shared the rest with their fishing group. He plans to taxidermy the head.

“I’m honestly still processing this whole thing,” he laughed. “Conservation Agent Tyler Brown was in disbelief it was my first time snagging. He said, ‘You don’t have to go out fishing ever again! Nothing can top this!’ and he’s probably right!”

Missouri state record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, jug line, gig, bow, crossbow, underwater spearfishing, snagging, snaring, grabbing, or atlatl. For more information on state record fish, visit