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Rare Catch: Angler Reels In Paddlefish From Allegheny River

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A local angler reeled in an unusual catch while fishing in the Allegheny River in Armstrong County.

Aaron Thompson likes to fish in out- of-the-way places, and Lock Nine on the Allegheny River, south of East Brady, fits the bill.

The Ford City fisherman says he has angled for an assortment of catches over the years.

"I catch catfish, walleyes, smallmouth, muskies," Thompson said.

But nothing like the creature he reeled in on Tuesday.

"Just took off," he recalls. "It kind of stayed in the water. Then when it got so far, it came up out of the water, and that's when I knew I had something different. Then we fought it for maybe ten to fifteen minutes, before we got it in."

He says his wife took photos, and then, "when I put it on Facebook, it kind of went crazy."

It was picked up by the local Army Corps of Engineers, which asked followers what this thing is? Some thought it was a prehistoric monster, and when you come down to it, Thompson says, "They've been around for 75 million years, they claim. So prehistoric is probably a good word for it."

He already knew it was a paddlefish.

As a bottom feeder, it didn't go after the bait. It just happened to get snagged by the hook, making it a very rare catch indeed.

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Aaron released it back into he waters from which it came.

"A picture's good enough," he says. "You don't have to kill everything you catch."

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