Outdoors

I just received a report of a new record muskie being caught in Michigan.

Now, there has been several world record reports, but a new group has been formed in an attempt to clarify and bring some credibility back to the world record.

The state-record Great Lakes muskellunge caught by Joseph Seeberger of Portage, Mich., on Oct. 13, 2012, has now been listed as a record by the International Committee of the Modern Day Muskellunge World Record Program.

MDMWRP is a committee of muskellunge scientists, industry leaders, anglers and outdoor media personalities that formed in 2006. The program facilitates the recording and verification of muskellunge world records, covering a current void of record availability to North American muskellunge anglers for fish in the 58- to 68-pound range. This range has been chosen because it is considered the maximum ultimate range of growth for this species. Prior to Seeberger’s submission, there had not been a MDMWRP world-record entry verified.

Seeberger caught the fish on Lake Bellaire in Antrim County. The DNR verified the record and documented that the fish weighed 58 pounds. Although the DNR did not measure the length (state records are determined by weight only), the angler measured the fish at a length of 59 inches with a flexible tape. Later in the day, a taxidermist reported the length at 58 inches.

MDMWRP is listing Seeberger’s fish at 58 pounds, 58 inches long, and a girth of 29 inches. It should be noted MDMWRP rules require a bump board-style length measurement, which explains the difference between their length and the length reported in the initial DNR press release.

The MDMWRP is one of many organizations that recognize world-record catches. Many of these organizations differ on their required criteria.

Over the past year, the DNR has made changes to muskellunge fishing regulations in an effort to improve fishing opportunities and to further protect the species. Starting on April 1, the possession limit will change to allow anglers to keep only one muskellunge per season, instead of one per day. Anglers must also obtain a free harvest tag that must be attached to the muskellunge they intend to keep. These tags are available wherever fishing licenses are sold and will be available March 1.

“Mr. Seeberger’s fish is another example of the capacity of Michigan waters to produce enormous, world-record fish,” said acting Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager Scott Heintzelman. “Added protection from recent regulation changes will allow more of these magnificent fish to reach their maximum potential and provide anglers the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.”

Local muskie hunters may be getting some good news from the state regarding muskie season changes on Chautauqua Lake.

There seems to be a push to expand the muskie season here. The new proposed dates would be the third Saturday in May until Dec. 15. These changes are in the preliminary stages and nothing is ground in stone, but additional days on the water chasing the toothie critters would help some anglers and relieve the pressure the fish have during the hot, summer months.