Michigan State Record Flathead Catfish
Michigan DNR

Michigan Confirms New State Record Flathead Catfish


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Michigan has a new state record flathead catfish, and it's a chunky one. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced in a press release that Indiana resident Lloyd Tanner's 53.35-pound flathead catfish edges out the previous state record by more than a pound. The fisherman hooked into this monster while using cut bait on the St. Joseph River on May 29. He caught the big fish early in the morning.

"I've been fishing Michigan for almost 30 years," Tanner said in a press release on the Michigan DNR website. "What draws me to Michigan is fishing for big catfish."

Michigan requires all record fish catches to be inspected by a state biologist before they are verified. Tanner's catch was inspected and verified by DNR coordinator Jay Wesley.

Southern Michigan has historically been the place for large flathead catfish in the Great Lakes State. Tanner's 48-inch monster was caught just one county over from the previous record. Dale Blakely caught the previous record out of neighboring Cass County's Barron Lake. That fish was taken while Blakely was jigging a wax worm through the ice in the winter.

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While the flathead catfish record has now fallen twice in the last seven years, Michigan's channel catfish record remains incredibly elusive to the state's dedicated cat anglers. Two 40-pounders caught in Roscommon County's famous Houghton Lake in 1960 and 1964 share the honors there.

Tanner released his giant catch back into the river to fight again another day. He told the DNR he regularly comes up to Michigan to fish for big catfish with a club called the Michigan Catfish Anglers Trail (MCATS). The group regularly hosts catfishing tournaments in the southwest part of the state. In fact, they invite anyone interested to come and join them on their Facebook page.

"We have several fun tournaments that anyone who enjoys fishing for catfish can come out and fish," Tanner told the DNR.

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