It’s finally official: Cisco caught in June verified as Michigan state record

Michael Lemanski holding his state-record cisco (formerly known as lake herring).

The Michigan DNR has confirmed that a cisco (formerly known as lake herring) caught in June is indeed a new state record.

The fish was caught Friday, June 9, at 10 a.m. by Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wis., on Lake Ottawa in Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula. Lemanski was still-fishing with a homemade jig. The fish weighed 6.36 pounds and measured 21.8 inches.

The record was verified by Jennifer Johnson, a DNR fisheries biologist in Crystal Falls.

The previous state-record cisco (lake herring) was caught by Robert Rogers of Hartford, Wis., in 1992 while trolling the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. That fish weighed 5.4 pounds and measured 25 inches.

“Although this fish was caught in June, we only recently verified it as a state record,” said Gary Whelan, the DNR’s fisheries research manager. “The reason for the delay stemmed from the fact we wanted to ensure this fish was not a hybrid between a cisco and a lake whitefish. These fish look extremely similar so we gathered DNA from the fish to test its compatibility with what we know about cisco. That test, done by Michigan State University, proved to be a match.”

Michigan state records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

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