Wild Chesapeake: Md. Awards First State Record for Fish Species

Adam Aghion of Pikesville, Maryland, with his 2.07-pound fallfish.

It’s exciting to catch a state record fish. But one Baltimore County, Maryland man just earned a state record for catching a two-pound minnow relative— the fallfish. And it’s the first record fallfish Maryland has ever acknowledged.

At first, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. When I looked closely at the photo, I vaguely recognized the fish. I’d caught one, or something very similar years back in the Shenandoah River, a tributary to the Potomac. I called it a river carp or sucker fish. Turns out it was a fallfish, the largest minnow species native to Eastern North America, a cousin to the chub and carp.  

On March 20 while fishing the Maryland side of the upper Potomac, Adam Aghion of Pikesville achieved state angling fame by landing a a 2.07-pounder, the first fallfish to be recognized by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a record catch.

“I’ve never targeted [fallfish] before, but it really did put up a good fight,” Aghion said. “It’s awesome. I hope someone beats [the record], and I hope I can get it back.”  

The scrappy fighter was fooled by a drop-shot rig with a #12 hook. Aghion told DNR that he made the trip to that location to catch walleye.

DNR decided to add the species to its Nontidal record after reviewing other mid-Atlantic and northeastern states’ recognition of fallfish records. They discovered that Aghion’s catch was in the same size range.

“Including fallfish in our state record category gives anglers another opportunity to be a part of our state’s angling history,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said.

-Capt. Chris Dollar