State-record fish applications coming in droves

A 5-pound, 4-ounce shortnose gar caught by Cayden Hutmacher. (Minnesota DNR)

Interest has ramped up this spring in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources state-record fish program, with five applications for four species.

“This is by far the wildest, craziest spring we’ve ever had. We’ve never had so many record submissions and so much interest in such a short span of time,” said Mike Kurre, state-record fish program coordinator.

There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: One for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight, and the other for the length of a caught-and-released muskellunge, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

So far, the record count this year stands at four: a 5-pound, 4-ounce shortnose gar caught by Cayden Hutmacher; two caught-and-released lake sturgeon that were 70 inches long caught by Tim Deiman and Mark Minnick; and a 4-pound, 7-ounce golden redhorse caught by Mathew Williams.

A 4-pound, 7-ounce golden redhorse caught by Mathew Williams. (Minnesota DNR)

Social media fueled some recent speculation that there would be two other candidates for flathead catfish records after photos surfaced of anglers who caught, photographed and released large catfish on the Minnesota River the same day — May 15 — about 100 miles  from each other. The fish may have ended up tied with the current 49-inch record. However, one of the anglers didn’t have a witness and the DNR hasn’t received a record application for the other.

The largest catch-and-release record submitted for consideration this year came from the Minnesota-Canada border waters, a submission of a 72-inch lake sturgeon. Unfortunately, there was no photo of that fish on the ruler so it could not be certified as a record. There was also an application for a quillback carpsucker that turned out to be a bigmouth buffalo.

Two caught-and-released lake sturgeon were 70 inches long, caught by Tim Deiman (above) and Mark Minnick (below). (Minnesota DNR)

“Some of the potential records submitted for the catch-and-release category haven’t had a photo of the complete fish on a ruler,” Kurre said. “It’s understandable, since outside a cadre of top-level anglers, few go out fishing expecting to catch one of these huge fish. Or, in the other cases, solo anglers would have just needed to take someone else fishing with them.”

Kurre recommends anglers become familiar with the record-fish guidelines and be ready to take the required photos and go through the correct procedures for submitting the record – especially when equipped with the fishing tackle and on waters where they might catch record fish.

Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

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