Fish Not Seen in Iowa Since 1932 Believed to Have Been Caught in Mississippi River

Iowa DNR are testing the fish to determine if it is a longear sunfish. (Iowa DNR)

Iowa DNR are testing the fish to determine if it is a longear sunfish. (Iowa DNR)

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a fish that hasn’t been seen in the state for decades, may have been caught in the Mississippi River.

Staff with Iowa DNR fisheries caught what is believed to be a longear sunfish earlier this month. Officials say if it is the longear sunfish it will be the first time the species has been positively identified in Iowa since 1932.

“How it got here and where it came from remains to be determined. For those that work in the fisheries field, both state and nationally, anytime an uncommon species can be documented, it’s an exciting discovery,” says DNR fisheries technician Adam Thiese.

Testing is underway on a fin clipped from the fish, which is being held alive by the DNR until it is identified.

The fish was once common in bayous around Muscatine, but hasn’t been spotted in Iowa for more than 80 years.

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