Wisconsin 9-Year-Old Becomes First Rainbow Smelt State Record Holder

One youngster from Wisconsin now holds a State record, and a very special record at that.

More and more State records seem to be getting set or broken these days. And we're also seeing some totally new categories created.

Such is the case with Tanner Derusha's rainbow smelt caught earlier this winter on Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay. The 10 ½ inch fish, weighing one third of a pound, makes the nine-year-old the first person to hold the Wisconsin State record for smelt.

Smelt typically don't get over seven or eight inches in length. But Tanner and his dad were having an exceptionally good day through the ice when Tanner pulled in a smelt that was noticeably bigger than anything else they'd caught that day.

"It really was exceptionally large for a smelt, so I pulled out my phone and started checking the internet to see what the record was," Dave Derusha said in a Wisconsin DNR press release.

He quickly realized after a few phone calls that Wisconsin didn't have a category for smelt. "I thought, well, if Michigan has one, Wisconsin should too," Derusha said.

So the father and son did all the paperwork to get the record submitted and certified. Derusha acknowledges the record may be beaten someday, but no one can take away being the first record holder from Tanner. It will also likely be a life-long memory for the father and son.

"If somebody gets a bigger smelt next month or next year, well so be it," Dave said. "Nobody can take away our great memory."

It just goes to show that big things sometimes come in small packages. Congratulations on your record Tanner!