Wisconsin has seen several state fishing records enter the books thus far this year, including four records for the newly formed Live Release category.
Records are made to be broken, and fishing records are no different. 2017 has thus far been a banner year for entering bigger fish into the Wisconsin record books, with six new weight category records and four fish registered in the brand new Live Release (catch and release) category.
Here are the weight category records for fish taken by hook and line (H&L) or by alternate methods (spearfishing or bowfishing):
- Rainbow Smelt - (H&L) 10.5 inches, 5 ounces, caught on March 5 by Tanner Derusha of Odanah, from Chequamegon Bay in Ashland County.
- Common Shiner - (H&L) 8 inches, 4 ounces, caught on April 23 by Brad Geisthardt of Germantown, from the Mukwonago River in Waukesha County.
- Alewife - (H&L) 8 1/8 inches, 2.4 ounces, caught on May 19 by Eric Geisthardt (brother of Brad Geisthardt above) of Milwaukee, from Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County.
- Golden Redhorse Sucker - (H&L) 19 inches, 2 pounds 13.4 ounces, caught on May 29 by MaxField JonasKrueger of Madison, from the Rock River in Jefferson County. As a 13-year old, JonasKrueger also briefly held the golden shiner record in the state.
- Shovelnose Sturgeon - (H&L) 37.5 inches, 7 pounds 13.1 ounces, caught on May 28 by Xavier Vang of Milwaukee, from the Mississippi River in Vernon County.
- Pumpkinseed Sunfish - (spearfishing) 9.5 inches, 13 ounces, speared on May 13 by Shawn Schmidt of Denmark, from Silver Lake in Washington County.
As exciting as those records are for those fishermen, Wisconsin's brand new Live Release Record Fish category presents anglers with a whole other category in which to enter fish for recognition. This is great news for conservation-minded anglers and for those who are looking for record book bragging rights.
The WDNR indicates that Live Release records are recognized by length alone (although they also state the fish's girth "should also be measured.") There are minimum lengths for fish to qualify and new records must exceed the old by at least 1/4 inch.
A completed record application and several photographs are required for fish to be considered. You can read more about the details of registering fish in the Live Release category at the WDNR website.
Wisconsin instituted the new Live Release program as "part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species."
The first four state records in the Live Release category are:
- White Bass - 17.75 inches, caught and released on May 8 by Ron Eberly of Appleton, from the Fox River in Brown County.
- Pumpkinseed Sunfish - 8.25 inches, caught and released on May 28 by Eric Amenda of Germantown, from Pleasant Lake in Waushara County.
- Rock Bass - 10.5 inches, caught and released on June 10 by Dennis Wilkerson of Twin Lakes, from Powers Lake in Kenosha County.
- Bluegill - 10.5 inches, caught and released on June 16 by Ben Halfen of Prairie du Sac, from Reynard Lake in Bayfield County.
WDNR Fisheries Director Justine Hasz gladly reported:
"We've heard from anglers over the years that they wanted an opportunity to get recognized for catching and releasing trophy fish, so we're happy to say we have our first live release records on the books and look forward to many more."
With the first six months of 2017 completed, anyone care to take a guess as to how many more fishing records will fall in Wisconsin during the second half of the year?
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