Angler sets new benchmark for lake sturgeon catch-and-release record

An angler from Stillwater, Minnesota has set a new record for lake sturgeon in the Department of Natural Resources’ catch-and-release category.

Jack Burke and fishing buddy Michael Orgas were recently on a lake sturgeon fishing trip to remember. Fishing on the Rainy River in Koochiching County, the duo was having a lot of success fishing for Minnesota’s biggest fish, landing 20 fish in three days including six lake sturgeon over 60 inches before hooking into the new state record – a 73-inch long lake sturgeon.

“We had been having some great action and knew there were big fish in the Rainy River,” Burke said. “This particular fish took about 45 minutes to reel in. When we got it closer to the boat it blew some bubbles and came to the top; I knew it was a huge fish!”

Burke caught the fish on May 4, around 11 a.m. using a muskie rod supplied by his fishing partner Orgas, with 80-pound braided line rigged with a circle hook and crawlers. The fish measures 73 inches in length and 30 inches in girth. This beats the previous record by 3 inches that was set by two separate anglers who both boated 70-inch fish on the same day in April 2017.

There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.