State-record hybrid sunfish caught in southwestern Michigan

Michigan has a new state-record hybrid sunfish, out of Lake Anne in Grand Mere State Park in Berrien County.

Joel Heeringa, of St. Joseph, Mich., caught the fish July 9 while still-fishing with a crawler. The record fish weighed 1.8 pounds and measured 11.7 inches. The previous record – held by two anglers – was 1.44 pounds, set 30 years earlier.

The record was verified by Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries unit manager for southern Lake Michigan. Because the fish was believed to be a hybrid, additional identification was required, delaying final confirmation. The fish also was examined by University of Michigan fisheries experts, who confirmed it indeed was a hybrid sunfish.

The previous co-record fish were caught within several days of each other in 1988 – May 28 by Daniel Manville on Arbutus Lake in Grand Traverse County and June 1 by Lloyd Jarman Jr. on Doan’s Lake in Allegan County.

State records in Michigan 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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