An angler has broken the state record for flathead catfish in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ catch-andrelease length category.
Mark Mosby of St. Anthony caught, measured and released the new record flathead catfish Aug. 2 on the St. Croix River near Stillwater. He caught the 52-1/2 inch fish on 80 pound braided line with a 40 pound monofilament leader. It had a girth of 32 inches.
Mosby, who describes himself as an occasional angler, said his fishing partner made sure his fishing gear was ready for a battle as they were targeting big flathead catfish known to inhabit this stretch of the river.
“Kudos to my fishing partner John Kaiser for his knot-tying ability,” Mosby said. “The flathead put up a great 15 minute fight right up until he got to the boat, and the knots held true.”
Although weight is not required for the catch-andrelease record, the fish was estimated to weigh about 70 to 80 pounds, based on length and girth. The current record for certified weight of a caught-andkept flathead is 70 pounds.
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, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
Mike Kurre, the DNR’s mentoring program coordinator, recommends anglers become familiar with the record-fish guidelines and be ready to take the required photos and go through the correct procedures for submitting a record – especially when equipped with the fishing tackle and on waters where they might catch record fish.
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.
Tips for kinder, gentler releasing of fish
Q: What are some tips for successfully releasing fish?
A: The most important thing to remember about how to release fish without injuring them is to be prepared. Have the necessary equipment readily available: needle-nose pliers, forceps, line clipper, a soft mesh or coated landing net – and oh yes, your camera.
It is critically important to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. If possible, unhook the fish while it is in the water. If taking a picture, hold larger fish horizontally with the head and body supported. Do not hold large fish vertically or by the gills or eyes.
Play and land the fish as quickly as possible and moisten your hands with water to protect the fish’s slime layer and prevent post-release infections. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line inside the fish’s mouth. If it is deeply hooked and bleeding, consider keeping the fish to eat as long as it is of legal size in the open angling season for that species.
With the state record fish program now accepting applications for catch-and-release muskie, flathead catfish and lake sturgeon, anglers with a potentially record-setting catch are encouraged to quickly measure and take a picture of the fish before releasing it. Allowing state records to be set via catch-and-release presents an opportunity to recognize Minnesota’s outstanding fishing opportunities for these species while also formally honoring the skill of anglers who catch and release a trophy muskie, flathead or sturgeon. For guidelines, visit mndnr.gov/recordfish.
DNR Regional fisheries manager