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The 2014 New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Guide is now available!
To view the new guide, please download the pdf. Check back in the coming days as we work to put up the new 2014 website.

Below is content from the 2013 guide.

Fish of the Year Program

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Pg6-photo_FOY.6_opt.jpgIf the DNR ever needs someone to endorse its online fishing reports, Micah Aldrich would be the guy.

After reading on the DNR website about the chances of catching Lake Michigan walleye from the piers in Michigan City, Aldrich and a few friends headed that way the day after Thanksgiving.

Photo: Micah Aldrich, walleye, 30 inches

“The only way I knew about it was the DNR website,” said Aldrich, 23, of Indianapolis. “It said you could catch them in November and December. I’d gone up there for steelhead quite a bit, but this was literally the first time I’d ever tried (for walleye). I appreciated the advice.”

Shortly before dusk, Aldrich hooked what he was after — a walleye that measured 30 inches.

Pg6-photo_FOY.3_opt.jpgHe and his fishing buddies knew that was big and wondered how it compared to the state record. It was a bit short (11 pounds, 10 ounces compared to the record of 14-4), but Aldrich entered it into the DNR’s Fish of the Year Contest.

And he won.

“Last year’s was 22 and a half inches, so I thought it had a good chance,” Aldrich said.

Photo: Jacob Fiorio, lake trout, 29 inches

The Fish of the Year Contest is one of two programs the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife manages to recognize big fish caught in Indiana waters. While the Record Fish Program uses weight as the determining measurement, the Fish of the Year Program goes by length.

Pg6-photo_FOY.1_opt.jpgEighteen anglers registered winning catches representing 26 fish species in the 2012 Fish of the Year contest.

Photo: David Ben Mullen, blue catfish, 48 inches

Multiple winners included Jeff Armstrong of Wheatfield with five awards (bluegill, rock bass, sauger, white bass and yellow perch), Jacob Fiorio of Dyer with three (brown trout, bullhead and lake trout) and Travis Bundy of Mitchell with two (flathead catfish and longnose gar).

Fiorio’s father, Steve, also got into the act with a largemouth bass that measured 23.5 inches.

Pg6-photo_FOY.2_opt.jpg“It’s not something I really set out to do,” Armstrong said regarding Fish of the Year entries. “But it’s in the back of your mind if you catch something big and get a good picture and measurement, even if you’re turning it loose.”

Photo: Derrick Sochacki, freshwater drum, 38 inches

Bluegill and walleye have been his favorite pursuits, but he caught the sauger bug in 2012, especially after catching the 18-inch Fish of the Year winner below Norway Dam on the Tippecanoe River.

“I wanted to catch one because I hadn’t caught one before,” he said. “They’re sort of not an attractive fish until you catch one. Then they’re pretty. That sort of got me hooked.”Pg6-photo_FOY.4_opt.jpg

David Ben Mullen has been a frequent Fish of the Year winner and always with blue catfish.

This year’s winner was the seventh for Mullen. It measured 48 inches and weighed about 55 pounds. That’s well short of the state record (105 pounds) but representative of the size he caught regularly on the Ohio River until recently.

Photo: Gavin McDonald, striped bass, 25 inches

“I had been averaging about four or five fish over 50 pounds until the last two or three years,” said Mullen, whose fishing zone covers a five-mile stretch of the river near Harrison County. “Last year I caught a 45, and a couple 30s, a few 20s. That was a really, really bad year for me. We’ve got about a 50-member club and we noticed in our tournaments that the poundage was down, way down.”Pg6-photo_FOY.5_opt.jpg

Mullen, a retiree, says he’ll be patrolling the Ohio in search of big fish again this year, at least when he’s not hunting deer, squirrels or wild turkeys.

If you catch a big fish this year and find it falls short of the state record, the Fish of the Year program may be an option for gaining recognition for your catch.

Entering is easy, and the rules are simple to follow. Visit Wildlife.IN.gov/3577.htm for more information and an entry form.

Photo: Irene Morales, channel catfish, 39.3 inches

 
 

2012 Fish of the year contest winners

 

Species

Length

Winner

Body of Water

County Caught

Blue catfish

48.0

David Ben Mullen

Ohio River

Harrison

Bluegill

10.0

Jeff Armstrong

Lake Maxinkuckee

Marshall

Brown trout

28.0

Jacob Fiorio

Lake Michigan

Lake

Buffalo

39.8

Kenny McCormack

Lake of the Woods

Marshall

Bullhead

14.3

Jacob Fiorio

Sechrist Lake

Kosciusko

Channel catfish

38.3

Irene Morales

McClish Lake

Steuben

Cisco

15.3

Robert Ecenbarger Sr.

Little Crooked Lake

Whitley

Common carp

28.0

Hannah Fleshood

Wabash River

Wabash

Crappie

21.0

William Burgess

Private Pond

Gibson

Flathead catfish

51.3

Travis Alan Bundy

East Fork White River

Lawrence

Freshwater drum

38.0

Derrick Sochacki

Lake Michigan

Portage

Lake trout

29.0

Jacob Fiorio

Lake Michigan

Lake

Largemouth bass

23.5

Steve Fiorio

Sechrist Lake

Kosciusko

Longnose gar

54.5

Travis Alan Bundy

East Fork White River

Lawrence

Northern pike

36.0

Terry Ramsey

St. Joseph River

Eklhart

Rock bass

11.5

Jeff Armstrong

Lake Maxinkuckee

Marshall

Sauger

18.0

Jeff Armstrong

Tippecanoe River

White

Smallmouth bass

22.5

Dylan R Gray

Whitewater River

Franklin

Spotted gar

34.0

Paul Bercot

Stafford Lake

Kosciusko

Steelhead trout

29.0

Derrick Sochacki

Lake Michigan

Portage

Striped bass

25.0

Gavin McDonald

Cecil M. Harden Lake

Parke

Walleye

30.0

Micah Aldrich

Lake Michigan

LaPorte

Warmouth

7.5

Bryan Hamilton

Spring Mill

Lawrence

White bass

23.0

Jeff Armstrong

Tippecanoe River

White

Yellow bass

9.0

Patrick Bates

West Fork White River

Marion

Yellow perch

13.0

Jeff Armstrong

Lake Michigan

LaPorte

 

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