Bowfishing nabs new state record river carpsucker

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BELTON, MO – Cody Chaney, 18, of Belton holds the new official Missouri state record for river carpsucker. Chaney was bow fishing with his father Terry, younger brother Brady and grandfather Bill Hill in a spring-fed cove at Lake of the Ozarks just after midnight May 27 when he struck something big.

“We didn’t realize it was a record, but we thought it had potential,” said Terry Chaney. “We actually thought it was a highfin carpsucker from the looks of the fish. But once we brought it to our conservation agent Phil Needham, he helped us figure out that we really had a river carpsucker.”

Cody’s catch weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounce, and was 20.5 inches long. Missouri’s previous state record, which stood for a mere three weeks, was a 5-pound, 6-ounce fish caught May 6 on a trotline in the South Grand River.

“Last year, we actually shot one that was bigger,” said Terry. “But it was late and we didn’t have enough ice to keep the fish alive, so it rotted.”

This time, the family was prepared and had a spare cooler with ice ready to hold any potential record fish. According to Terry, the family learned their lesson and never goes fishing without a cooler full of ice just to hold fish.

Cody has been bow fishing for about three years and spends approximately 300 days a year enjoying the Missouri outdoors, either hunting or fishing.

“During the summer, whenever we have a free weekend, you’ll find us out bow fishing,” said Terry. “It is definitely one of our favorite family summertime activities.”

The river carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) is silvery, with a deep, thick body, a long, sickle-shaped dorsal fin and whitish lower fins. It is also called "white carp," "silver carp" and "quillback." It is the most abundant and widely distributed carpsucker in Missouri.

River carpsuckers prefer quiet, silt-bottomed pools, backwaters and oxbows of large streams and deeper pools of small prairie creeks. They also often thrive in impoundments. Adults typically are 12 to 15 inches long.

The river carpsucker is often confused with the highfin carpsucker. The two can be distinguished by the length of the first ray of the dorsal fin, which reaches to or beyond the back of the dorsal fin in the highfin carpsucker.

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish. More information about Missouri fishing records is available at