Same day, different rivers: Catfish and sturgeon are first records

Two anglers had a big day May 8 when they reeled in, measured, photographed and released huge fish – one caught a lake sturgeon, the other a flathead catfish – leading both to set the first catch-and-release records in an expanded Minnesota state record fish program.

“Congratulations to our first two record holders in the record program we expanded this year,” said Mike Kurre, who manages the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ record fish program. “It’s great to see these photos and applications and know there are still chances for other anglers to catch these enormous fish.”

Cindy Pawlowski of Frazee with the record lake sturgeon on the Rainy River

Cindy Pawlowski of Frazee caught and released the record lake sturgeon May 8 on the Rainy River in Koochiching County. The fish was 62 7/8 inches long with a 29-inch girth, and took a gob of night crawlers at 7 a.m.

Steven DeMars of Stillwater caught and released the record flathead catfish, also on May 8, in the St. Croix River in Washington County. The fish was 47 inches long with a 30-inch girth, and took the bullhead bait at about 7:30 p.m.

Steven DeMars of Stillwater with the record flathead catfish in the St. Croix River

The new catch-and-release length records are for muskellunge, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish and require anglers to measure and take a photograph of the fish before releasing it. Anglers can continue to set records based on certified weight, which require the fish to be harvested. Guidelines and application forms for each type of record are available on the record fish page.

An application has yet to be presented for a caught and released muskie.

Anglers are reminded to obtain a valid license and check that the season is open before going fishing. Anglers may fish for a species only when the season is open, even when catch-and-release fishing. For tips on how to properly catch and release fish, visit the catch and release page.

There is also an option to participate in the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame’s Master Angler Program, which recognizes 60 fish species. Information about that program is available at the fishing hall of fame page.