The Valley Is Home To World’s Largest Crappie

By Jack Gurner

This is a fish story about the one that DIDN’T get away.

Fifty years ago this week on July 31, 1957, Fred Bright of Memphis  caught a five pound, three ounce white crappie at Enid Lake. Mr. Bright,  who said he had been fishing all his life, had affidavits filled out on the fish’s statistics.

It was caught on the north side of Enid just down from Ala Rey Church, according to the Herald. Mr. Bright, who was reared in Eureka Springs just north of the lake, was fishing 18 feet deep with red fin minnows in his “old stomping grounds.”

On September 5 the crappie was accepted officially as the world’s record. Biologists tested the 21-inch fish and found it to be a male about ten years old that had never been hooked before.

On September 19 a photo appeared in the Herald which showed the fish displayed in a shadow box with a water blue background. The writer pointed out that when an electric light in the foreground was lit, the crappie appeared to be swimming.

Like any good fish story, this one is not without controversy. There were those who said that Enid Lake was too new to have fish of that size. But, many other experienced fishermen said that even though the lake was new and just an itty-bitty pool, such a fish could have come down the river.

And, he could have swam and swam all over the dam at least until Mr. Bright came along.

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