Michigan has two new state-record fish

Quillback Small Original
A quillback carpsucker weighing in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 24.75 inches is the new state record. (Michigan DNR)

During the first few months of the coronavirus emergency in Michigan, a lot of people turned to the outdoors for exercise, fresh air and a little peace of mind. For two residents, that included time on the water that led to new state-record fish!

Owen Seay of Big Rapids, Michigan, was baitcasting in the Muskegon River in Mecosta County on April 28 when he caught a quillback carpsucker weighing in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 24.75 inches. That catch (pictured above) bested the previous state record, an 8.52-pound catch on Hardy Dam Pond in Newaygo County in 2015.

Scott Heintzelman, the Michigan DNR‘s Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager out of Cadillac, verified that new record.

On May 25, Garrett Rice of Athens, Michigan, caught a 33-pound bigmouth buffalo measuring more than 3 feet long while bowfishing on Lake Erie in Monroe County. Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator with the DNR Fisheries Division, verified Rice’s fish, which replaced the 32-pound record-holder caught last year on the Shiawassee River in Saginaw County.

Verification of state records usually happens quickly after a catch but has been delayed due to COVID-19 public health and safety restrictions. These two records were recorded remotely on certified scales, then frozen, and later verified in person.

State-record fish are recognized by weight only. To qualify, a fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight, and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. See the current roster of record setters at Michigan.gov/StateRecordFish.

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