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Michigan has two new state-record fish


This quillback carpsucker was caught by Owen Seay of Big Rapids, and set a new state record at 9 pounds, 15 ounces. Photo from 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 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.

Questions? Contact Lynne Thoma at 517-284-5838.

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State record broken by same angler nearly nine years later


Roy Beasley of Madison Heights has the distinction of holding two state records for the same species of fish, first in 2008 and again in 2017. Here he is with his recent record-setting bigmouth buffalo catch from the River Raisin in Monroe County.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently confirmed a new state-record fish for bigmouth buffalo. This marks the first state-record fish caught in 2017—and it was caught by an angler who held the previous state record for bigmouth buffalo from 2008.

The new record fish was caught by Roy Beasley of Madison Heights, Michigan, in the River Raisin (Monroe County) Saturday, May 13, at 11 a.m. Beasley was bowfishing. The fish weighed 27 pounds and measured 35.25 inches.

The record was verified by Todd Wills, a DNR fisheries research manager on Lake St. Clair.

Beasley held the previous state-record bigmouth buffalo—this one caught on the Detroit River—from August 2008. That fish weighed 24.74 pounds and measured 34.50 inches.

“More and more people are enjoying the sport of bowfishing and recognizing the thrill it can offer those who pursue it,” said Sara Thomas, the DNR’s Lake Erie Management Unit manager. “The river system in Southeast Michigan offers ample opportunity to catch rather large fish. A huge congrats to Mr. Beasley for having broken this record twice.”

The DNR reminds anglers who bowfish to properly dispose of all specimens they harvest.

State records 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.

To view a current list of Michigan state fish records, visit michigan.gov/staterecordfish.

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