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State record smallmouth buffalo caught in lower Wapsipinicon River

  • 4/12/2022 3:31:00 PM
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John Dirks, from Anamosa, caught a 43 pound smallmouth buffalo on December 1, 2021 in the lower Wapsipinicon River. 

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff waited to certify Dirks’ catch as the new state record smallmouth buffalo until genetic tests were completed to confirm that the catch was a smallmouth buffalo. Smallmouth buffalo are thought to hybridize at times with the other two native buffalo species in Iowa, black buffalo and bigmouth buffalo.

Buffalo species can reach impressive ages of over 100 years, according to studies in Minnesota. Iowa’s new state record buffalo was aged to nearly 70 years old.

Learn more about Iowa state record fish on the DNR webpage at