By Jack Spaulding
Say the word trout and many people will picture an angler gracefully casting a fly line in a small stream for a tiny little fish barely measurable in inches.
Well, for those who think trout fishing is for the dainty and demure, my advice is to stay away from Lake Michigan, because trout from those waters can often be measured in feet.
Recently, a new Indiana state record brown trout topped the list, and it was a real bruiser.
The Division of Fish & Wildlife has certified a 29.3-pound Lake Michigan brown trout, caught by Glen Duesing of Dyer, Ind., as a new state record fish.
On April 2, Duesing was fishing along the north wall of the State Line Power Plant near Whiting when Indiana’s biggest brown trout hit his Smithwick Rogue crankbait.
“Our boat was trolling for Coho (salmon), but rough, stained water and wind forced us to try fishing for browns along the power plant wall,” said Duesing. There was a lot of warm water from the power plant flowing down the wall.”
Duesing said as soon as he felt the fish taking line he told his boat mates it was a good fish.
“We pulled everything, rods and outriggers, and drifted and fought the fish for 20 minutes,” he said. “We got the fish next to the boat, and when I saw it, I again said, ‘This is a GOOD FISH!’“
As Duesing and his crew tried to boat the big brown, the weight of the fish broke the net handle.
“The fish wouldn’t fit in the net, and then the net broke,” said Duesing. “Luckily, hooks on the lure stuck in the net mesh, and we pulled the fish and tangled mesh into the boat.”
The champion angler weighed his catch on a state-certified scale at Howard and Sons Meat Market in Munster. The scale stopped spinning at 29.3 pounds. The fish stretched 3 feet and 3.75 inches. A tape wrapped around the fish’s belly measured nearly 2 feet (23 inches) of girth.
Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Janel Palla from the Lake Michigan DNR office in Michigan City verified the catch was a brown trout.
Because of the brown trout’s large size, Indiana’s fisheries chief Bill James suspects the trout was a Seeforellen strain of brown trout stocked by Wisconsin. Seeforellen browns are native to alpine lakes in Europe, where they are noted for their large size and long life spans. Brown trout grow well in Lake Michigan. The Indiana state record brown trout record was topped once in 2001 and twice in 1999.
In Oct. 2001, Mitchell Boilek from Hammond was fishing from his boat for Lake Michigan smallmouth bass when a 25-pound brown trout smacked his tube jig lure and yanked him into Hoosier fishing history.
And, in March 1999, the record 23-pound Lake Michigan brown trout caught by Joe Hankins of Martinsville was surpassed in September of the same year when South Bend resident Steven Bay pulled a 24-pound, yard-long brown trout from Michigan City’s Trail Creek.
EAB prompts firewood ban
Campers entering Indiana campgrounds this spring and summer should expect to have their firewood inspected by DNR personnel or USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service officers (APHIS).
“These people are helping to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB),” said DNR assistant state parks and reservoirs director Ginger Murphy.
Murphy said emerald ash borer larvae are often transported in firewood, and have already destroyed more than 8 million ash trees in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
“Ash borers have been found in firewood brought into Pokagon State Park in northeast Indiana,” said Murphy. “Restrictions on the movement of firewood from several counties in Indiana and Ohio as well as the entire lower peninsula of Michigan will help stop the spread of this destructive insect and will protect the forests and shade trees at our DNR properties.”
Murphy said ash trees provide valuable shade in many campgrounds on hot summer days. “At Salamonie Lake’s campground, ash trees provide about 30 percent of the tree cover,” said Murphy.
This camping season, DNR gate attendants will require anyone bringing firewood from a quarantined area to leave it at the gate.
The DNR will remove the firewood and burn it each day to eliminate any chance that emerald ash borers might emerge and survive. The DNR will also be checking empty campsites for leftover firewood. Leftover wood will be removed and burned.
Moving firewood from quarantined areas in Ohio and Michigan into Indiana (or vice versa) is a violation of federal law. Moving firewood from quarantined areas in Indiana is a violation of state law. Officers from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be visiting campgrounds to watch for and remove firewood brought from quarantined areas.
Firewood vendors in campgrounds will only be allowed to sell firewood from non-quarantined areas.
Indiana counties with quarantines currently include: Steuben, LaGrange, Adams, Randolph, Huntington, Hamilton and Marion. Ohio counties with quarantines currently include: Auglaize, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Sandusky and Williams.
As for firewood originating in the State of Michigan, Indiana’s official word to individuals living in the lower peninsula of Michigan is, “Do not bring firewood from home to an Indiana state park, reservoir or state forest.”
Readers with questions or comments can contact Jack Spaulding by e-mail at email@example.com or by writing to him in care of this publication.
This farm news was published in the May 17, 2006 issue of Farm World.