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Illinois hunting and fishing

Which fish record will fall?

April 25, 2010 at 07:47 AM

Register your record

Registering an Illinois state record fish is fairly easy. One key is to weigh your fish as soon as possible on a certified scale in front of two witnesses.

You’ll also want to get several pictures. And measure the length and girth of the fish. All that information must be recorded on a form that you submit to the Department of Natural Resources.

There are also junior angler awards for youngsters under 16 who catch their first Illinois fish. And there are several other award categories for Catch and Release, Big Fish, Master Angler and Grand Slam awards.

Click here to for forms for all award categories. Forms are also available at some DNR offices or by calling (217) 782-6424.

New this year is a category for bowfishing records.



Is this the year Mark Samp (pictured above) yields his smallmouth bass record to Lake Michigan?

Or will Evergreen Lake finally make some muskie maniac a hero?

Valid questions to be answered as another fishing season heads into high gear and thoughts turn once again to state records.

For the past few years Chicago anglers have said there’s an Illinois-best smallmouth bass swimming on the Lake Michigan lakefront. Earlier this spring Sun-Times scribe Dale Bowman even predicted this would be the weekend Lake Michigan produced a smally to surpass the 6-pound, 7-ounce lunker Samp caught March 26,
1985 out of a Fulton County strip-mine lake.

And that’s not just hot air out of the Windy City. Joe Egan came close to the record last April, landing a Lake Michigan smally that weighed 6-5 after a protracted delay in finding a certified scale.

Given the right conditions during the smally spawn, Samp might not be on top for long.

Along the same lines, there’s reason to believe Evergreen Lake could soon yield a muskie record. After all,
Evergreen has already produced at least two toothy critters that would better Matt Carmean’s record of 38-8
from below the dam at Lake Shelbyville.

The latest Evergreen brute (pictured below with Thad Hinshaw) was netted April 8 during annual Department of Natural Resources population surveys. The 48-inch fish weighed 40 pounds and will no doubt draw even more attention to Evergreen, already a popular stop for muskie anglers.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Nets don’t count for record consideration, of course. Nor do foul-hooked fish, like the 105-pound paddlefish Mike Jarvis snagged earlier this month out of Levee Lake near New Athens.

Illinois hunting and fishing

But there is a chance an angler already caught a state record this spring. While fishing at Clinton Lake for crappie on April 15, Craig Miller of Bloomington landed a 52-inch flathead catfish. He was fishing a crappie rig and minnow on 6-pound test line.

“I weighed the fish at the West Side boat launch with another guy’s (spring) scale and it weighed in just under 79 (pounds),” Miller said. “I didn’t know the state record until I got home and looked it up on the Internet.”

That’s when he learned the flathead record belongs to Jody Harris for a 78-pounder caught out of Carlyle Lake in 1995.

“I’ve never caught a record, so I didn’t know what to do,” Miller said. “So I’m kind of mad, but yet happy that it will live to be caught by another angler someday.”

Maybe that big flathead will swallow another jig. More likely the next Illinois record will be a sunfish.

One probable source is the Emiquon Preserve, which last year produced two state bests. One was Chef
Todd’s epic 0.41-pound pumpkinseed on July 21. The Chef (below) didn’t even have a chance to hang his state record plaque before another bigger fish was registered by Pat Crumrine of Washington.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Crumrine caught his 10.24-ounce fish on Sept. 15 out of a one-man kayak. “We’d been reading the article (about Chef Todd’s fish) and we just decided to go out and catch a record,” Crumrine said.

Crumrine probably won’t rank first for long, either. Bigger pumpkinseeds than his are swimming Emiquon’s weedy waters. All it will take is someone willing to measure and register a fish for the mark to fall.

Then too, there’s one other enticing record. That’s for longear sunfish, which at present has no entry registered with the state.

I’m willing to bet that will change by year’s end.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I think it will be a smallie out of the big pond.  There are some huge fish hanging out in the harbors.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/25 at 03:12 PM

yellow perch or saugeye record i think..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/25 at 06:35 PM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/26 at 12:11 AM

i have seen some paddlefish caught on flies and on small jigs and lures even so the main method of catching them is snagging.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/26 at 01:19 PM

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