After swimming upstream for years, Iowans who’ve been hoping to get the catfish named Iowa’s state fish have caught a break.
The Iowa Senate voted Monday to make the move. Senator David Miller, a Republican from Fairfield, says Iowa is one of only five states that does not have an official fish. Eighty-two-year-old George Marzeck of West Burlington has been promoting the idea of naming the “channel cat” the state fish for the past 38 years, and he talked about his quest last year with Radio Iowa. “This all started back in 1968 when I started doing some articles for the Burlington Hawkeye and I got to talking to the sports editor and I said ‘Hey, what do you think of the idea of having a state fish for Iowa?'” Marzeck said.
Marzeck wrote Miller a letter, which Miller read from yesterday. Marzeck wrote Miller that he’s “hanging on” to see if his dream ever becomes reality. “After all this time I can’t flat out say ‘The h— with it!'” Miller quoted. “It’s for all the guys who like to fish. It’s for people who enjoy the outdoors and it’s for people who like to sit down and enjoy a plate of good, old-fashioned catfish and hush puppies.”
Senator David Johnston spoke in favor of the catfish. “My hometown is Ocheyedan. We don’t have a Lions Club. We don’t have a Rotary. There’s a lot of things we don’t have there, but we have — as far as we know — the only Catfish Club in the entire state,” Johnson said. “The Ocheyedan Catfish Club has written to me and fully endorsed this.”
Senator Tom Courtney also made his support known. “I just want you all to know…I come from from Burlington, and the original name for Burlington was Catfish Bend,” Courtney said. “(I) appreciate your support on this.”
The House must also vote to make the move before the catfish is named the state fish of Iowa. Catfish booster Marzek says catfish is the tastiest fish you can poke a fork into and as for what it looks like, it’s big with green-colored skin. Experts say catfish can be found in nearly every waterway in Iowa.