Fenton Resident Catches Record-Breaking Shad

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports Riley Nolan of Fenton became the recent record-breaking angler in Missouri when he gigged a gizzard shad on the Big River in Jefferson County.

“Believe it or not, that shad was the only fish my dad and I got that evening,” he said.

See more of the MDC story below.



The new “alternative method” record fish caught by Nolan on Jan. 30 weighed 2 pounds, 6 ounces with a length of 17 inches. Nolan’s recent catch broke the previous state-record of a 2-pound, 5-ounce gizzard shad gigged in 2013.

“My dad and I didn’t really know what type of fish we had in the boat until we got back to the boat ramp,” said Nolan. “We thought it looked like a shad, but really couldn’t believe that it was because of its size.”

Nolan added this fishing trip was only the second time he was out gigging.

Once MDC gave Nolan confirmation he had a state record, Nolan said he was in shock. “I couldn’t believe it! I never thought anything like this would happen to my dad and me,” he said. “This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

MDC agents verified the gizzard shad’s weight at Valley Park Elevator and Hardware.

Nolan added he plans on having the state-record gizzard shad mounted.

“2017 is shaping up to be a year for state-record fish,” said MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. “The mild weather we have had this year means more anglers are fishing, and catching big fish.”

Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: throwlines, trotlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl. For more information on state-record fish, visit the MDC website at

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