The cisco used to be known as lake herring.
Mike Lemanski of Florence, Wisconsin, caught the fish June 9 on Lake Ottawa in Iron County.
Michigan state records are only noted by weight, and the record-breaking fish weighed in at 6.36 pounds. However, Lemanski’s cisco measured 21.8 inches.
The previous record, 5.4 pounds at 25 inches, seemed unbeatable for 25 years. It was caught in the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay in 1992.
So, how come it took until October to confirm a state record for a fish caught in June? The answer is DNA testing.
“Although this fish was caught in June, we only recently verified it as a state record,” says Gary Whelan, the DNR’s fisheries research manager. “The reason for the delay stemmed from the fact we wanted to ensure this fish was not a hybrid between a cisco and a lake whitefish. These fish look extremely similar, so we gathered DNA from the fish to test its compatibility with what we know about cisco.
“That test, done by Michigan State University, proved to be a match.”
Jennifer Johnson, a fisheries biologist for the DNR in Crystal Falls, verified the record.
Lemanski’s cisco was the second state-record fish caught in 2017. The first was a 27-pound, 35.25-inch bigmouth buffalo caught in May on the River Raisin in Monroe County.