Lewis & Clark recorded that men catch 100 Pound plus Catfish in the Missouri River by Vermillion, South Dakota. These monsters would break all state records. Did it happen?

According to three of Lewis and Clark's journal entries on August 24, 1804, two men caught catfish that on average weighed 100 pounds each.

Yankton.net reports that the South Dakota state records for catfish include a 99 pound 4 ounce Blue Catfish caught in the Big Sioux River, a state record Flathead Catfish caught in the Jim River tipped the scales at 63 pounds 8 ounces, and the state record channel cat was a 55 pounder.

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In this video Spencer Neuharth says he doubts that the men caught these giant catfish in the mighty Missouri River by present-day Vermillion, South Dakota.

Neuharth contends that most likely they caught Paddlefish. The South Dakota state record for landing a paddlefish is 127 pounds 9 ounces caught in Bill Harmon in 2014 in Lake Francis Case off the Missouri River south of Chamberlain, South Dakota.

One of the entries in Lewis and Clark's journal was by Officer Joseph Whitehouse who claimed, “we remained here part of this day. Some of our men 9 catfish. 5 of them was very large weighing on average each 100 pounds.”

Neuharth wonders why they did not elaborate more on these record-sized beasts in their journal entries? Stating that some of the expedition's entries were very detailed and this encounter would surely be worthy of more description.

Neuharth goes on to make the claim that the giant catfish were more likely misidentified paddlefish and it would not have been the first time that Lewis & Clark labeled animals incorrectly.

However, in the video, you can see Neuharth's position change after a conversation with Professor of History Dr. Brad Tennant with Presentation College.

Tennant is an expert on the Lewis & Clark expedition. Tennant pointed out that the men that were fishing that day knew had caught catfish before and would have most likely spent more time detailing something that looks as strange as a Paddlefish.

In Tennant's opinion, it was indeed most likely that Lewis & Clark's men were absolutely catching record-breaking 100 pounds plus catfish in the Mighty Missouri River by Vermillion South Dakota back in 1804.


Good Earth State Park-South Dakota

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