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Tag Archive | "catfish"

Catfish state record broken for second time in less than two years


 

Niles, Mich., resident Dale Blakley reeled in a 52-pound flathead catfish on Barron Lake (Cass County) on Sunday, Jan. 12, setting a new state record. Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR.

Niles, Mich., resident Dale Blakley reeled in a 52-pound flathead catfish on Barron Lake (Cass County) on Sunday, Jan. 12, setting a new state record. Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR.

From the Michigan DNR

 

The catfish was caught by Dale Blakley of Niles, Mich., on Sunday, Jan. 12, on Barron Lake in Cass County at 3 p.m. The fish weighed 52 pounds and measured 46.02 inches. Blakley was ice fishing for crappies when he landed the record fish.

The record was verified by Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Plainwell office. The previous state record flathead catfish was caught by Rodney Akey, of Niles, on the St. Joseph River, in Berrien County, on May 22, 2012. That fish weighed 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches. Prior to that, the record hadn’t been broken since 1943.

“Catching this fish was the most exhilarating experience,” said Blakley. “It was only the second time I’ve ever gone ice fishing and it was the only bite we had on the lake the whole day. This definitely sits at the top of my list!”

It should be noted that flathead catfish typically inhabit large river systems, like the nearby St. Joseph River. Based on the size of this fish, it mysteriously found its way to Barron Lake several years ago, perhaps through illegal stocking, as there are no direct connections to a large river system. Anglers are reminded that transferring fish from one water body to another is prohibited because such transfers can disrupt the fish community in the receiving water through predation, competition with native species, or introduction of new disease-causing organisms.

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.

“We’ve had numerous state records broken in the last couple of years, further showcasing the quality of Michigan’s fisheries,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “We hope this latest catch encourages anglers to get out on the water in search of their own state record—or at least a great adventure!”

A video (produced by the Blakley family) of this state-record catch is available at

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For more information on fishing in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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Man sentenced for selling game fish


A Grand Rapids man that sold catfish he had caught in the Kalamazoo River has been sentenced to four months probation.

The man, Leon Terrill Smith, 40, had advertised the catfish on Craigslist as for sale. Michigan DNR law enforcement officers worked with the Wildlife Resources Protection Unit (WRPU) and made contact with Smith, who sold 14 catfish to WRPU members.

Officers arrested the man after the sale for selling sport caught fish, driving while license suspended and an outstanding arrest warrant. Investigating officers were advised Smith also had previous felony convictions for drug and firearms violations.

A person convicted of buying or selling game fish or any parts of game fish is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $1,000.00, or both.

Smith appeared in court Tuesday, July 9, and entered a guilty plea. He was sentenced to four months probation and must take part in an educational series on fishing laws in Michigan.

Smith reportedly did not know it was illegal without a commercial license. DNR officials say that sport fishing is not health regulated and the fish could be contaminated.

The DNR reminds readers that you can call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800 to report any natural resources violations, including hunting and fishing violations.

 

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Weekly Fishing Tip


Catching a catfish in Michigan

 

Rodney Akey with record catfish.

The new state record flathead catfish caught on May 22 on the St. Joseph River has brought a relatively unheralded species into the daylight. The record flathead, which weighed 49.81 pounds and measured 45.7 inches, was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles, who was fishing with an alewife for bait. That’s one of the main differences with fishing for the flathead than other catfish species. Anglers often use live baitfish when pursuing flatheads, unlike the earthworms, shrimp or various stink-bait concoctions many catfish anglers use.

Flatheads tend to live in slow-flowing rivers where they typically inhabit deep holes. Veteran flathead anglers often pursue them at night, fishing on the bottom in the leading edge of the hole or on the flats upstream. Large minnows, small sunfish or cut suckers are preferred baits. Summer is the most popular season to fish for flatheads; what better time to get out and try your luck!

For more information on fishing for catfish, check out the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them section of the DNR’s website. Go to Michigan.gov/dnr and then click on fishing, then angler information, and then “Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them.”

 

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Niles man catches new state record catfish


Rodney Akey with his record-setting catch. Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Breaks Michigan record set in 1943

The Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state record flathead catfish. Rodney Akey of Niles, Mich., caught the fish on Tuesday, May 22, on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County at 8 p.m. It weighed 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches. Akey was still-fishing from shore with an alewife when he landed the record fish. The record was verified by Scott Hanshue, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the DNR’s Plainwell office. The previous state record flathead catfish was caught by Elmer Rayner, of Hastings, Mich., on the Maple River in Ionia County on Aug. 6, 1943. That fish weighed in at 47.5 pounds and measured 44 inches.

“I’ve been fishing catfish on the St. Joseph River for the last 20 years, but it never crossed my mind that I would catch a state record,” said Akey. “And beating a nearly 70-year record—that’s a feat in itself!”

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. For more information about record-breaking fish caught in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/masterangler.

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