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Minnesota News
Minnesota News


From the Minnesota DNR:

New State Fish Records Broken

Walleye egg take a success despite squeeze of late ice-out

 

New State Fish Records Broken

Angler sets new benchmark for lake sturgeon catch-and-release record

record lake sturgeonAn angler from Stillwater has set a new record for lake sturgeon in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ catch-and-release category.
Jack Burke and fishing buddy Michael Orgas were recently on a lake sturgeon fishing trip to remember. Fishing on the Rainy River in Koochiching County, the duo was having a lot of success fishing for Minnesota’s biggest fish, landing 20 fish in three days including six lake sturgeon over 60 inches before hooking into the new state record – a 73-inch long lake sturgeon.
“We had been having some great action and knew there were big fish in the Rainy River,” Burke said. “This particular fish took about 45 minutes to reel in. When we got it closer to the boat it blew some bubbles and came to the top; I knew it was a huge fish!”
Burke caught the fish on May 4, around 11 a.m. using a muskie rod supplied by his fishing partner Orgas, with 80-pound braided line rigged with a circle hook and crawlers. The fish measures 73 inches in length and 30 inches in girth. This beats the previous record by 3 inches that was set by two separate anglers who both boated 70-inch fish on the same day in April 2017.
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, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

A whopper silver redhorse sets new state record

record silver redhorseAvid angler Dustin Stone caught a new state record silver redhorse in the certified weight category of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ record fish program.
Stone caught the 10-pound, 6-ounce silver redhorse while fishing for lake sturgeon on the Rainy River in Koochiching County on April 28. He was fishing with 80-pound braided line tipped with a night crawler.
“We had been doing very well fishing for sturgeon, landing seven fish over the 60-inch mark,” Stone said. “We started catching a bunch of suckers and redhorse before this fish, so this fish felt quite a bit bigger than the others.”
Fortunately for Stone, his fishing buddy had extensive knowledge about fish like silver redhorse, and Stone almost released the fish until his partner advised him to check the weight and current record on that species of fish.
The new state record silver redhorse was weighed on a certified scale at a meat shop in Granite Falls, where two observers witnessed the weighing. Two DNR fisheries experts in the Ortonville office confirmed the species identification of silver redhorse. The official weight is 10-pounds, 6-ounces with a length of 26-3/4 inches and a girth of 17-1/2 inches, beating the previous state record of 9-pounds, 15-ounces held since 2004.
“I’m glad the DNR does this record fish program. It’s fun to see the records. I’m kind of addicted to this now and I’m going to try and break a couple more!” Stone said.
There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish of each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

Angler breaks state record for golden redhorse

GoldenRedhorseAngler Ethan Rasset has broken the state record for golden redhorse in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ certified weight category.
Rasset caught the 4-pound, 8-ounce redhorse on the Otter Tail River after setting out April 7 with his fishing buddies to lure some roughfish like carp into biting. His rod was rigged with a green artificial twister-tail bait with 15-pound test line when the fish hit in the early afternoon.
“I had to make one last cast into a spot where I knew there was a deep hole,” Rasset said. “I thought it was a greater or silver redhorse at first because of its size, but as I got it closer to shore and I saw it flicker I knew it was a big golden.”
Rasset took the fish to a store in Moorhead to get the fish weighed on a certified scale, where two observers witnessed the weighing. Two fisheries experts from the Fergus Falls DNR office confirmed that the species of the fish was in fact a golden redhorse.
The golden redhorse has been a popular record fish in the past few years with new state records broken in four of the last five years. In 2014, the record was set at 4 pounds, was broken in 2016 with a 4-pound 4-ounce fish; broken again in 2017 with a 4-pound 7-ounce fish; and now the new state record is Rasset’s golden redhorse weighing 4 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 22-1/2 inches in length and 12-3/4 inches in girth.
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, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

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Walleye egg take a success despite squeeze of late ice-out

This spring’s late ice-out meant a shorter window of time for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to take walleye eggs for annual fish stocking but despite a two-week late start the agency collected enough eggs to meet stocking goals.
“Our crews put in some extra-long days to handle the high numbers of fish this year,” said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager. “Their work will benefit anglers who fish many of the more than 1,000 lakes stocked with walleyes by DNR.”
This year’s 10 egg-take operations met their goal of collecting 4,100 quarts of eggs. With each quart containing an estimated 120,000 eggs, that’s about 492 million walleye eggs and is comparable to the average taken in past years.
The DNR operates the largest walleye hatchery operation in the United States, and stocks 1,050 managed lakes on a rotating schedule that is prescribed by individual lake management plans.
After taking eggs and fertilizing them with walleye milt, the eggs are taken to hatcheries where they take about three weeks to hatch in specialized jars. Two-thirds of the fry are stocked directly into lakes within a few days of hatching. Roughly one-third of the fry hatched each year by the DNR are kept in rearing ponds throughout the summer and are stocked as fingerlings in the fall. It takes 3 to 4 years for a walleye to reach keeper size in Minnesota – about 14 to 15 inches.
A vast majority of the walleye caught by Minnesota anglers come from waters where the fish reproduce naturally – about 260 larger walleye lakes and in large rivers. But because of stocking, walleye can be found in an additional 1,050 Minnesota lakes spread throughout the state. This year’s walleye fishing season opens Saturday, May 12.
“Without good water quality, natural habitat and a healthy prey base, even aggressive stocking measures won’t improve walleye fishing on a lake that can’t support it,” Kavanaugh said.
In this season of egg-take operations Cut Foot Sioux near Deer River and Pike River near Tower experienced large numbers of fish in the traps after the first day and both operations were able to meet their goals in three days instead of the normal 6 to 8 days.
Spawning is a naturally stressful activity for fish. Egg take operations are staffed 24 hours a day so dissolved oxygen levels in the water and crowding can be monitored to minimize fish losses.
Fish spawning is triggered by day length and water temperature. The Pike River site has dark water that warms more quickly when the sun shines. Once the ice went out, water temperatures rose and the fish responded very quickly.
This year’s late ice-out could offer a silver lining for future fish numbers and anglers. Later ice-outs followed by consistently rising daily temperatures can be beneficial to developing a strong year class of walleyes. Consistently warming temperatures help create a surge in the zooplankton that provide an important food source for newly hatched fish.
The DNR’s fish hatchery operations are primarily funded by the Game and Fish Fund through fishing license revenues. Anglers can further support walleye management activities by purchasing a walleye stamp when they purchase a fishing license. They and fishing licenses are available for purchase at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

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