MADISON – State fishing records are falling fast -- literally with a “thunk” -- as anglers have been hauling in a boatload of true lunkers.
By June 1, seven new state fish records had been confirmed in 2010 in the “alternate methods" category. The fish ranged from 4 pounds to more than 200 pounds, and the longest stretched more than seven feet long. Six of the seven were taken with a bow and arrow, one with a spear, and one new record was only on the books for a month before it was eclipsed.
A monster fish – a quillback-river carpsucker hybrid – has also been harvested in recent weeks from Wisconsin waters but didn’t qualify for a record because the state no longer accepts records for hybrid fish.
“Bowfishing seems to be growing in popularity and our record books are starting to reflect that trend,” says Karl Scheidegger, the DNR fish biologist who coordinates the state record fish program.
“More people are learning about the alternate methods category and seem to be targeting those records.”
Bowfishing involves using specialized archery equipment to target carp, drum, burbot and the like during an open season that coincides with the statewide spearing seasons. The Guide to Wisconsin Spearing, Netting, and Bait Harvest Regulations 2010-2011 can be found on the fishing regulations page of the DNR website.
The parade of record fish, and the people who landed them, are listed with the most recent first (following links exit DNR to WiscFish website, a collaborative effort by the Wisconsin DNR, University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant):
•Taylor Hanson of New Lisbon shot a 4-pound, 1.6 ounce, 29-inch short nose gar from the Wisconsin River in Grant County on May 29.
•Lance Lyga of Independence shot a 3-pound, 8 ounce, 19-inch long spotted sucker, from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County on May 22.
•Nathaniel Fritsch of Ettrick shot a 28-pound, 13.3 ounce, 35-inch long sheepshead, from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County on May 17.
•Kyle Lakey of Trempealeau shot a 29-pound, 10.9 ounce, 33.15-inch smallmouth buffalo, from the Trempealeau River in Trempealeau County on April 18.
•Crae Wilke of Hortonville shot a 10-pound, 15 ounce, 26.6-inch silver red horse from the Weyauwega Mill Pond on March 23.
•David Kropp of Sauk City shot a 13-pound, 28 1/4 inch smallmouth buffalo on March 6, 2010, while bowfishing on the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. He held this record for a month before Kyle Lakey bettered it.
•Ron Grishaber of Appleton speared a 212-pound, 3.2-ounce lake sturgeon that stretched 84.25 inches long on Feb. 13, 2010, opening day of the Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing seasons.
Wesley Babcock of Pardeeville hauled in an 18-pound, 2.7 ounce, 29-inch quillback-river carpsucker hybrid from the Castle Rock Flowage, a fish that nearly doubles the weight of the state record quill back and carp sucker records. He received an “Exceptional Catch” certificate from DNR for his efforts.
What to do if you think you’ve caught a record fish?
If you think you or someone else has caught a fish that may be a state record, here's what you need to do:
•Don't clean the fish
•Freeze the fish if possible or keep it cool, preferably on ice
•Get the fish weighed as soon as possible on a certified scale (usually found in grocery, hardware stores, etc.) and witnessed by an observer
•Contact a fisheries biologist at the nearest DNR Service Center to get the fish species positively identified and to find out whether the fish is actually a state record.
•Obtain and complete a record fish application, downloadable from the DNR websit or available from a DNR service center.
•If possible, take a photo of you holding your prize catch and e-mail it to [Karl.Scheidegger@wisconsin.gov] or send a print to his attention at the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management, Box 7921, Madison, Wis., 53707.