• Dale Bowman

Indiana fishing: Whitefish record caught (photos added)


Indiana has upped its record for lake whitefish, again. I actually expected this to happen even sooner.

Dan Rostecki caught his whitefish while bottom fishing for brown trout off the Michigan City pier.

Here is the word from the Indiana DNR:

Michigan City angler catches state record lake whitefish

Dan Rostecki didn’t catch what he was after while fishing from the Michigan City pier last Saturday, but he did haul in a state-record lake whitefish instead.

“I was out there brown trout fishing on the bottom and thought I had one,” Rostecki said. “It ended up being a whitefish. It’s the first one I’ve ever caught. It was really, really a bonus.”

A record bonus no less.

DNR State Record Fish Program coordinator Jamie Smyth certified the record catch on Monday. Rostecki will receive a certificate and patch from the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife as recognition of the record.

“Congratulations to Dan on his record catch,” Smyth said. “Since this one came so early in the year, perhaps it’s a sign that we’re in for a great year of fishing in Indiana.”

Rostecki’s catch from Lake Michigan weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces and topped the previous Indiana record by more than a pound. He had an inkling it might be a contender after a friend caught one a week earlier that weighed 3 pounds, 6 ounces.

“She said something a couple days later about the record being 4-6,” Rostecki said. “That’s crazy.”

Rostecki used squid and nightcrawler for bait.

“It’s a good combination for brown trout,” he said. “The squid has a nice oil smell, and the brown trout kind of dial in on it. My friend caught a couple last week using it and a couple more this week.”

Lake whitefish is a relatively new category in the DNR’s State Record Fish Program. The first year it was included was 2012 after DNR fisheries biologists determined an increasing number of lake whitefish in Indiana waters of Lake Michigan required establishment of a daily bag limit of 12 fish.

Scott Nieman set the initial record at 3.05 pounds in 2012, and Donald Hans topped it later that year with one weighing 4-6.

According to Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia, the average size for lake whitefish is in the 1- to 2-pound range. Different accounts put the line-catch world record at 14-6 or 15-6, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website cites one weighing 42.67 pounds caught in Lake Superior in 1918.

“Traditionally they are found in northern Lake Michigan,” said Brian Breidert, Lake Michigan fisheries research biologist for the Indiana DNR. “We’re starting to see a bit of a range expansion and have for about the last four or five years. Illinois is starting to see them as well.”

Indiana’s Record Fish Program began in 1963 and now recognizes 52 species. Visit more information on the record fish program and the companion Fish of the Year contest.


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