The largest redear sunfish ever caught in San Diego County yesterday [Quagga mentioned]

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Escalante-Class Member

Teresa Gardner of Spring Valley entered the record books on Monday with the largest redear sunfish ever caught in San Diego County. Gardner caught (and successfully released) this massive “shellcracker” at little 171 acre Lake Murray in La Mesa, fishing in the Alvarado Bay area of the lake, just south of the dock and parking area. Her massive redear settled the official scale on the dock at 4.15 pounds, obliterating the previous official lake record of 2.355 pounds – caught by Eduardo Valenzuela in June of 2011.

Not only was it easily the largest ever caught at Lake Murray, but it also eclipsed the San Diego County record of 3.7 pounds caught in April of 2002 at San Vicente Reservoir.

Gardner’s catch inches San Diego closer to producing to a world record class redear. Currently, the world record is 5.8 pounds – caught at Lake Havasu in February of 2014.

The largest redear sunfish caught in Southern California is 4.72 pounds from Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet.

The invasion of quagga mussels has been credited with the sudden spike in giant redear sunfish caught in the west region of the United States in recent years. They were discovered out west in January of 2007 at Lake Mead, and just a few days later in aforementioned Lake Havasu.

Since Southern California sources much of its water imports from the Colorado River, which Mead and Havasu are apart of, many San Diego area reservoirs were quickly invaded as well. They were first discovered in Lake Murray in September of 2007.

While quagga mussels are a pain for water infrastructure, they’re a great source of food for redear sunfish in particular. With this new source of food, we’ve seen redear records soar to record breaking sizes the last 10 years.

Notably, quagga mussels have NOT been officially documented in Diamond Valley Lake. So either quaggas aren’t quite as crucial to the growth of record sized redears, or the shellcrackers in DVL just found them before the humans have. You decide…

Teresa Gardner caught and released this record 4.15 pound redear sunfish at Lake Murray on March 27, 2017
Hey Waterbaby, are quagga mussels creating problems in Havasu? (Or are the redear sunfish keeping them in check?)
We have them here, they are a problem for the dam and the pumping plants, the lake is clear as it has ever been, but we don't have the dramatic increase and decrease in lake levels like Lake Powell. We are limited here how much they can draw the lake down because of the pumping plants to CA and Tucson, but you go into the marina's and boats that are not used often or have been sitting for a long time have them all over their props.... and in Copper Canyon they form little footballs on rocks..... would be nice if they have never found a way into Lake Mead to infect all our lakes. But the Red Ear certainly seems to be thriving from their being here.
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