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Record number of fish likely out there

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Updated: May 7, 2012 8:20AM



It’s spring and thoughts turn to record fish from Lake Michigan. In particular the Indiana records for brown trout, walleye and yellow perch.

On Tuesday, Bobby Bergren of Munster boated a 16.2-pound brown with a 4-inch Northland grub on a quarter-ounce orange Northland Gumball head jig while fishing with Capt. Ralph Steiger out of East Chicago Marina.

That’s memorable fish but not close to an Indiana record. Glen Duesing of Dyer caught the record brown (29.03 pounds) from boat just off the power plant on the Illinois line in 2006.

But almost certainly an Indiana record brown swims in Lake Michigan.

“Two days before we had a brown on that was huge compared to this hawg,’’ Steiger messaged. “The one we lost was 25-30 pounds, 40-plus inches long. I was heart broken when it broke off.’’

Browns are not the only record swimming in southern Lake Michigan.

With the lack of ice cover this winter, I thought the walleye record might go. Reports trickled in this winter of fishermen out of Portage and Michigan City catching walleye to 13 pounds.

A walleye record is not an idle thought. On Dec. 11, 2002, Scott Hoswell, of Frankfort, Ill., caught a 14.47-pound walleye, which would have topped the Indiana record, from the Port of Indiana. But it was caught in an area ruled off limits to fishing in post 911 hysteria, so it did not count.

 The Indiana record for walleye is 14 pounds, 4 ounces, caught by Leon Richart from the Kankakee River near the state line in 1974. It was matched in 1977 by Donald Tedford with a catch from the Tippecanoe River in Pulaski County.

Of immediate concern is the yellow perch record. With perch near the spawn on Lake Michigan, there’s a chance somebody will catch the record in the flotilla off Gary Light or on the Indiana shoals. But the perch record (2-8), caught by Roy Burkel Jr. from a Vigo County gravel pit, has stood since 1981.

The blows and dirty water this week limited effort, but in coming weeks there will be potential for the record perch to be boated on Lake Michigan. I think it will need to be at least a 16-inch prespawn female.

Indiana fishing records are posted at in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3588.htm.

Inland fishing: At Monticello, staff at Norway Bait & Tackle said wipers to 14 pounds have been caught the past week in the holes below the dam on night crawlers or twistertails, mostly in the evenings. Lots of crappie and catfish were being caught on the lakes. ... The cool-down has slowed the hot bluegill bite at Willow Slough, and most local ponds and lakes. ... Doris Salada at Country Bait in Valparaiso said “The Duck Pond’’ at Loomis has been best for bluegill. She said the crappie bite has been good.

... The DNR report reported bluegills and bass being caught at Worster Lake at Potato Creek State Park. Boat rental is closed until May, but the camp store will be open today and Saturday, but closed Sunday.

Lake Michigan: When Lake Michigan settles, I expect the perch flotilla to return. ... Otherwise, Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported a mix of coho and browns, as did Steiger, when the weather allows access. Poteshman also reported good lakers around “The Gong.’’

Wild things: Last weekend, dedicated hunters were able to find some morel mushrooms. I suspect the weather will push the peak of the morel season back to its more traditional times later this month and May.



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