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Below is content from the 2013 guide.

2013 Fish of the Year

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Troy Stouder didn’t catch what he was after on June 8 of last year, but he ended up with something better.

The biggest northern pike he’s ever caught and an award to go with it from the DNR’s Fish of the Year program.

“I was kind of in the right place at the right time,” Stouder said. “It was just one of those things.”

Stouder was taking advantage of the shoreline fishing opportunities at Center Lake, one of three lakes in Warsaw. The spot he picked out was near the public beach where he’d previously caught a good number of largemouth bass.

“It was early morning, around 7:30,” he said. “I was fishing for bass and caught a northern (pike) by accident.”

The fish measured 44 inches, making it the largest northern pike winner in the Fish of the Year program since 2007 and tied for seventh largest since the program began in 1963.

“It’s definitely the biggest northern I’ve ever caught,” Stouder said. “The year before (2012), about three days prior to when I caught this one, I was using a popper in that area, surface fishing and caught some 35- to 40-inch northern. But none of them ever weighed as much as this one.”

This one weighed in at just less than 17 pounds, Stouder said, and bit on a Texas-rigged soft plastic green and pumpkin Senko with black flakes.

“When you feel the typical largemouth bump, you’ve got to get on those things,” he said. “So, I set the hook but I don’t think the fish realized it was hooked right away. It was swimming right at me and didn’t feel like too much. Then it turned, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve caught the whole bottom of the lake.’ ”

A few months earlier, Stouder’s work supervisor showed him a South Bend Tribune article that listed Fish of the Year winners for 2012. The northern pike winner that year was 36 inches.

“I thought, ‘I’ve caught at least three longer than that,’ ” Stouder said. “Up until that point, I’d never thought it could happen to me.”

It did, just as it did for 22 other anglers who received Fish of the Year honors for their catches in 2013.

Jeff Armstrong of Wheatfield caught five winners (common carp, crappie, rock bass, sauger and sucker) for the second year in a row and did so in four different bodies of water.

Jeff Carlin of Crown Point was a four-time winner, with two of his coming on back-to-back days last spring on Lake Michigan – a 35-inch Chinook salmon and a 34-inch lake trout.

“The Chinook looked like a tuna when it got to the net,” Carlin said of the 20-pound fish (upper left of page). “The biggest one I’d caught prior to that was a 15-pounder. The next day is when I caught the laker. It was a really exciting weekend, some exciting times.”

Photo_FOY_option7.rainbow.trout_Pg7.psd

Three youngsters were no doubt excited by their Fish of the Year catches – Marley McDonald (rainbow trout), Holly Johnson (bluegill), and Elie Gerth (largemouth bass). McDonald’s brother, Gavin, was a Fish of the Year winner in 2012 with a striped bass.

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.

There were no record fish reported in 2013.

If you catch a big fish this year, match its weight against the list on Page 6 of this booklet.

If it’s bigger, review the entry requirements at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/3577.htm and fill out the form found at the same location.

If it isn’t bigger, there’s still the Fish of the Year program. Requirements and an entry form for both programs also can be found at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/3577.htm

2013 Fish of the year contest winners

Species

Length

Winner

Body of Water

County Caught

Blue catfish

49.0

Michael W. Fraze III

Ohio River

Crawford

Bluegill

13.0

Holly Johnson

Private Pond

White

Bowfin

31.0

Joshua Gansman

Cypress Creek

Warrick

Bullhead

14.8

Les Takacs

St. Joseph River

St. Joseph

Channel catfish

38.0

Bobby Hawkins

West Fork White River

Hamilton

Chinook salmon

35.0

Jeff Carlin

Lake Michigan

Porter

Cisco

15.2

Robert Ecenbarger

Little Crooked Lake

Whitley

Common carp

27.5

Jeff Armstrong

Bass Lake

Starke

Crappie

14.0

Jeff Armstrong

Lake Maxinkuckee

Marshall

Flathead catfish

46.0

Derrick Lyons

Hovey Lake

Posey

Freshwater drum

30.0

Jeff Carlin

Lake Michigan

Porter

Green sunfish

8.0

Danny Schmidt

Private pond

Gibson

Hybrid striped bass

31.0

Scott Williamson

Silver Lake

Noble

Lake trout

34.0

Jeff Carlin

Lake Michigan

Porter

Largemouth bass

20.0

Elie Gerth

Private Pond

Hendricks

Longnose gar

41.0

Lindsey Fleshood

Wabash River

Wabash

Northern pike

44.0

Troy Stouder

Center Lake

Kosciusko

Rainbow trout

14.0

Marley McDonald

Raccoon Creek

Parke

Redear

12.0

Robert Lee

Beret Pit

Pike

Redear

12.0

Faye Miller

Hudson Lake

Laporte

Rock bass

12.0

Jeff Armstrong

Lake Maxinkuckee

Marshall

Sauger

18.2

Jeff Armstrong

Tippecanoe River

White

Shortnose gar

28.0

Danny Schmidt

Wabash River

Gibson

Smallmouth bass

23.8

Mark Manns

Tippecanoe River

Carroll

Spotted gar

24.5

Holly Burton

Wabash River

Gibson

Steelhead trout

33.0

Tristan Weaver

Salt Creek

Porter

Striped bass

34.0

George Seabolt

Cecil M. Harden

Parke

Sucker

17.0

Jeff Armstrong

Kankakee River

Porter

Walleye

29.8

Mark Manns

Kankakee River

Starke

White bass

16.0

Danny Schmidt

Hovey Lake

Posey

Yellow perch

14.3

Jeff Carlin

Lake Michigan

Porter

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