Catching a fish for the recordbooks… Minnesota certifies new state record tullibee

St. Paul — Eleven-year-old Austin Stoll heard the six-pound line scorching off his reel. Nearby, his dad Chris Stoll heard it, too, and both knew Austin had a big fish to battle.

By the time the battle was over March 9, Austin pulled up what is now certified as a new state record tullibee (also known as a cisco) weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces, besting the previous record by 2 ounces that stood for almost 13 years. He caught the fish in Sybil Lake in Otter Tail County.

“Congratulations to Austin on the great catch,” said Mike Kurre, who coordinates the state-record fish program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Austin and his dad did everything right to certify the fish, and they show how it’s possible to catch a state-record fish at any time of the year.”

To certify the tullibee as a record, they took it to be weighed on a certified scale at Essentia Health in Pelican Rapids after trying a local hardware store that was closed. Two impartial observers witnessed the weighing, and Austin and his dad brought the fish to be identified by two fisheries experts at the DNR Fergus Falls fisheries office. They also had the application stamped by a notary public.

“Austin’s fish is one of 62 state records, which are measured by weight,” Kurre said. “Many of these records are attainable at any time of the year because fishing seasons remain open for panfish and other species. In fact, the past several records have all been species that rarely grace the covers of glossy magazines.”

The five most recent records prior to Austin’s tullibee were golden redhorse in 2014, and the following fish in 2012: bowfin (dogfish), burbot (eelpout), river carpsucker and shovelnose sturgeon.

Anglers who wait to go fishing until the May 9 opener can dream about reeling in the record walleye. That claim to fame is a 17-pound, 8-ounce giant pulled from the Seagull River at Saganaga Lake in Cook County in 1979.

“With the open-water fishing season upon us, who knows which record will be next to fall?” Kurre said. “True, most people will never catch a record fish, but anglers break these records more frequently than many might imagine.”

In fact, Austin’s dad Chris hooked into a tullibee that may have tied this new state record only a few days after his son landed his record fish.

“They’re going to have both fish mounted, but Austin’s dad was a good sport and let his son bask in the glory,” Kurre said. “I bet more great fishing is in store for the Stoll family, with their long tradition of fishing for all species. Judging by the family photos of Austin’s catches, he’s no stranger to big bass, sunfish and muskie.”

To certify a fish as a record:

• Take it to a DNR fisheries office for positive identification.

• Fill out a record fish application.

• Locate a state-certified scale (found at most bait shops and butcher shops).

• Weigh the fish with two witnesses present.

• Send a clear, full-length photo of the fish with the application to the address listed on the application form.

“For each species of fish in the recordbook, there are stories of close calls and fish that got away or were released,” Kurre said. “Anglers must legally harvest a fish to certify it as a record. For some species like muskie, a catch-and-release ethic can trump the angler’s desire to harvest large fish. Sometimes it’s OK and expected to take only photos. Other times, records can hang on the wall and bring back great memories.”

The record-fish form and guidelines can be found online under the list of state-record fish here. The list is also published on Page 83 of the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet.

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