DENVER, Colo. – Conner Peitsmeyer, 11, of Aurora probably won’t remember the chill of the 35-degree air on the morning of Nov. 12. What he will remember for a long time is catching the new Colorado state record smallmouth bass.
Conner was fishing at Aurora Reservoir with his dad, Michael Peitsmeyer, in the family’s fishing boat that Friday morning. A few days before, Conner had landed his first ‘big fish’ in the same area, a smallmouth that was more than five pounds. But nothing prepared Conner for the 20Â¾ inch, 6-pound, 8-ounce monster he would pull from the water that morning.
“We had caught quite a few big bass that week, so we knew they were in there,” said Michael. “When he caught that first big one, Conner told me he was shaking, but he wasn’t sure if it was from the cold or from the excitement.”
Conner’s catch eclipses the previous state record smallmouth, a 21-inch, 5-pound, 12-ounce bass caught by Carl Dewey at Navajo Reservoir in 1993.
The bass isn’t the only state record fish caught at Aurora Reservoir this fall. On Oct. 4, 20-year-old Jessica Walton, landed a 43-pound channel catfish at the reservoir east of Denver.
“Aurora Reservoir has ideal forage conditions to produce very large fish,” said Paul Winkle, DOW aquatic biologist who manages the fishery. “There’s an outstanding population of crayfish and yellow perch, which provides an excellent food source for fish to grow to enormous sizes.”
In the last decade, the DOW has stocked more than 135,000 fish at Aurora Reservoir, including trout, bass, catfish, walleye and wiper, helping to establish the 640-acre reservoir as one of the state’s most popular fisheries.
The youngest of three brothers, Conner said he loves angling so much that he had saved his birthday and Christmas money to buy his own fishing gear – a medium to light St. Croix graphite rod and a Shimano reel spooled with Berkley Trielene XL 6 pound test line.
The DOW issued Conner Peitsmeyer his Master Angler award certificate and patch, and added the record smallmouth bass to the Colorado State Fishing Records.
“Any time someone lands a new state record, it’s exciting for us,” said Greg Gerlich, DOW fisheries chief. “It’s even more exciting when it is a youngster that pulls in one of these big fish. This is yet another example of how anyone, regardless of age or experience, can have a great day fishing.”
The DOW tracks fish records by weight in 43 different species categories. Potential record-holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16. The fish in question must be weighed on a state-certified scale, and a weight receipt must be signed by a person who witnessed the weighing. The fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a DOW biologist or wildlife manager before an application is submitted.
To view Colorado’s Fishing Records, please visit the DOW’s website at:
To download photos to accompany this story, use the following links:
Conner and Biologist Paul Winkle
Conner and his state record smallmouth bass
[Note to broadcasters: Connor's last name is pronounced "PEETZ-my-er." ]
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: