Lake Russell Black Crappie Sets New Record

New lake record slab goes 3.38 pounds as spring fishing season kicks off.

Mike Bolton | March 2, 2024

This Lake Russell black crappie weighed 3-lbs., 6.08-ozs. and was caught by Aaron Jenkins. It’s the new lake record.

Aaron Jenkins calls Canton, N.C. home now, but his heart will forever be in east Georgia. He makes the three-hour trip home to crappie fish with his dad, Keith, whenever he can.

As far as Aaron is concerned, there’s only one Georgia lake in which to fish for crappie. The 31-year-old grew up fishing on Lake Russell, the 26,500-acre reservoir sandwiched between Hartwell and Clarks Hill on the Savannah River. Aaron says the great memories there with his father are too numerous to mention, but what happened on Friday, Feb. 23 will always be at the top of the list.

“We launched at the state park and had just started fishing,” he said. “I had the forward-facing sonar on, and I saw a fish suspended in 20 feet of water. He was 8 feet deep and just sitting there not around in any structure. I had a lead-head jig I poured with a soft plastic body. I tossed the jig at him, and he took it immediately. I wasn’t sure what it was.”

Aaron was fishing with his dad Keith when he caught the new lake-record black crappie from Lake Russell.

What it was was the largest black crappie he had ever seen. It was the first crappie of the day, so they weren’t about to quit fishing. They eventually caught 23 keepers, but none like the first fish.

“We didn’t have any scales, but we were curious what it weighed,” he said. “We were guessing, but we really had no idea. We finally came across a dad fishing with his two sons. We asked if they had any scales. They said they did. They weighed the fish, and we checked ( saw that it was bigger than the lake record. We then set off looking for some certified scales.”

At a local grocery store, the black crappie weighed 3-lbs., 6.08-ozs., and it was indeed the lake record, beating out the old lake record caught by Eric Johanson Jr. on March 13, 2011. That fish weighed 3 pounds even.

“I dropped it off at the taxidermist on the way home to get it mounted,” he said. “I cut my teeth on Lake Russell fishing with my dad, so it really meant a lot to me,” he said. “I have no idea why that fish was where he was, but I’m glad he was.”

Official Lake Russell Record Fish

Largemouth Bass13-lbs., 4-ozs.Eddy Propes03/04/90
Spotted Bass6-lbs., 8-ozs.Mike Strickland04/06/13
Striped Bass63-lbs. *Terry McConnell04/03/09
White Bass4-lbs., 4-ozs.James L. Payne04/12/94
Walleye11-lbs., 6-ozs.Neal Watson09/11/95
Brown Trout10-lbs., 8-ozs.Tim Harris07/04/93
Black Crappie3-lbs., 6.08-ozs.Aaron Jenkins02/23/24
White Crappie3-lbs.Tony Baker04/03/03
Hybrid Bass14-lbs., 9-ozs.Wayne McCollum01/11/04
Yellow Perch1-lb., 5-ozs.Vern Fulmer09/27/23
White Perch1-lb., 4-ozs.Eric Young01/02/21


Catch A Lake or River Record? Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with WRD fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel. GON can correspond with DNR when high-quality, multiple photos are taken of the fish and emailed to GON. All record submissions and photos must be sent to [email protected].

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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