The fish are biting and records are tumbling.
That's the message from the Minnesota DNR, which said on Tuesday the spring fishing season was the "wildest, craziest" they've ever seen since. It's mainly because of the number of people claiming they've snagged record catches since the opener.
"We’ve never had so many record submissions and so much interest in such a short span of time," said Mike Kurre, state record fish program coordinator. "They’re are all impressive catches and show interest in the program is growing and that there are some huge fish out there in Minnesota."
Since the start of the season, four state fish records have been broken, including a 5-pound, 4-ounce shortnose gar caught by Cayden Hutmacher (pictured at the top of the page).
There's also been a 4-pound, 7o-ounce golden redhorse, and a twice-broken record for catch and release lake sturgeon – both of which measured 70-inches long.
There might be more
There were claims for other records too. Pictures shared on social media on May 15 suggested two anglers fishing 100 miles apart may have caught (and released) flathead catfish that tied the 49-inch record. But one didn't have a witness and an application hasn't been submitted for the other.
Meanwhile an application for another possible record-breaking lake sturgeon, at 72 inches, was submitted from the Minnesota-Canada border waters, but it wasn't submitted with a photo of the fish on a ruler.
The DNR says that its fisheries management strategies of recent years has helped contribute to the sudden surge in big fish.
"Anglers are in some cases benefiting from good fisheries management decisions and environmental cleanup of past decades, especially when it comes to long-lived fish like sturgeon," Kurre said. "In some cases, specific state record holders probably wouldn’t have the record without other anglers releasing that fish in the past."
You can find more information about how to submit a record application, as well as details of the current Minnesota fish records, right here.