Skip to main content

Indiana

Fishing

Fish of the Year

2020: A Big Year for Big Fish

With many activities canceled in 2020, Hoosiers looked to fishing for entertainment and a retreat. More anglers usually means more fish caught, and the Fish of the Year (FOTY) program saw a big increase in the number of entries and species submitted. In 2020, 78 anglers submitted 113 fish for consideration, a new program record and a 15% increase over 2019 numbers. Fifty species were entered, up from 44 last year. Notably absent from the list of species submitted were chinook salmon, coho salmon, flathead catfish, blue catfish, and hybrid walleye (saugeye). The winning entry for longest fish was a 45-inch muskellunge caught from Bruce Lake by Mark Holbrook. The shortest was a 4-inch Northern sunfish submitted by Ron Anderson, who also won for the white catfish. While not a required measurement for FOTY entries, the largest girth reported for a winner (26.25 inches) belonged to a channel catfish submitted by Cameron Sly. The Tippecanoe River was the 2020 hot spot for FOTY winners. The Tippy, which winds 160 miles through northern Indiana before merging with the Wabash River, yielded 15 entries, including eight top prizes. Holbrook, now a winner of 16 FOTY awards, garnered four of those (common carp, bowfin, walleye, and golden redhorse). Robert Ecenbarger continued his streak of nine wins in a row for cisco, Indiana’s only native salmonid outside of those in Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, the streak will end there. Cisco were listed as endangered in Indiana in December 2020, making them ineligible for FOTY. One change has been made for the entry requirements for 2021 and future years. All entries are required to include a photo showing the fish’s length measurement. The measurement photo will replace the need for a witness and make entering easier for anglers who fish alone. Anglers who enter FOTY are also encouraged to submit a second photo of themselves hoisting their fish to commemorate the catch. Visit fishing.IN.gov for more information. If you think you’ve caught a winner, there are three easy ways to enter:
  • Online: Enter the required information using the online entry form (fishing.IN.gov; click Record Fish) and submit a photo of the fish showing the measurement and a copy of your fishing license (if required by law) to recordfish@dnr.IN.gov.
  • By mail: Print and complete an entry form (fishing.IN.gov and click Record Fish) and include a photo of the fish showing the measurement and a copy of your fishing license (if required by law) to Record Fish Program, Division of Fish & Wildlife, 402 W. Washington St., Room 273, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
  • By email: Submit an electronic version of the entry form and attach a photo of the fish and a copy of your fishing license (if required by law) to recordfish@dnr.IN.gov.

2020 Fish of the Year Contest Winners

Family

Species

Length (inches)

Location

Angler

Black Bass Largemouth Bass

25.9

Patoka River NWR (Pike) Mark Browning
Smallmouth Bass

23.0

Tippecanoe River (White) Richmond Sekach
Spotted Bass

14.8

Monroe Lake (Monroe) Michael Sturgill
Sunfish Black Crappie (tie)

18.0

Geist Reservoir (Hamilton) Jacob Yonts
Black Crappie (tie)

18.0

Bushong Lake (Noble) Benjamin Kish
Bluegill

10.5

Glendale FWA (Daviess) Dennis Thompson
Flier

5.0

Mud Creek (Daviess) Will Burch
Hybrid Sunfish

10.8

Private Lake (Warrick) Brian Ranes
Northern Sunfish

4.0

unnamed ditch (Newton) Ron Anderson
Pumpkinseed

9.3

Round Lake (Steuben) Keyth Voirol
Redear Sunfish

11.1

Geist Reservoir (Marion) Min Lu
Rock Bass

9.8

White River (Madison) Randall Keiser
Warmouth

9.0

Chrisney Lake (Spencer) Brian Ranes
White Crappie

20.0

Geist Reservoir (Hamilton) Jacob Yonts
Catfish Brown Bullhead

14.5

Clear Lake (Steuben) Rhys Morgan
Channel Catfish

37.5

Worster Lake (St. Joseph) Cameron Sly
White catfish

14.0

Bischoff Reservoir (Ripley) Ron Anderson
Yellow Bullhead

13.0

Private Pond (Tippecanoe) Mark Walker
Perch Sauger

23.0

Tippecanoe River (Fulton) Douglas Dohl
Walleye

30.5

Tippecanoe River (Pulaski) Mark Holbrook
Yellow Perch

15.3

Lake Michigan (Lake) Benjamin Pierce
Logperch

5.5

Tippecanoe River (Carroll) Mark Walker
Trout Brown Trout

31.5

St. Joseph River (St. Joseph) Chris Peabody
Cisco

17.3

Little Crooked Lake (Whitley) Robert Ecenbarger, Sr.
Lake Trout

41.3

Lake Michigan (LaPorte) Don Urbas
Rainbow Trout

24.5

Capital City Cons. Club (Johnson) Jeremy Gruner
Steelhead Trout

39.0

Lake Michigan (Porter) Theodore Fenicle II
True Bass Hybrid Striped Bass

32.0

White Lake (Johnson) Lena Kim
Striped Bass

40.3

Hardy Lake (Scott) Mason Neece
White Bass

18.3

Hoffman Lake (Kosciusko) Richard Hicks
Yellow Bass

8.5

Cataract Lake (Putnam) Jim Butts
Pike Muskellunge

45.0

Bruce Lake (Fulton) Mark Holbrook
Northern Pike

43.0

Adams Lake (LaGrange) Scott Hebble
Redfin Pickerel

7.0

Heilsher Ditch (Jasper) Jeff Armstrong
Minnow Black Buffalo

32.3

Tippecanoe River (Carroll) Craig Hulsey
Common Carp

40.5

Tippecanoe River (Pulaski) Mark Holbrook
Creek Chub

8.8

Campbell Creek (Delaware) Chris Gray
Golden Shiner

10.3

Glendale FWA (Daviess) Blake Thompson
Sucker Golden Redhorse

25.5

Tippecanoe River (Pulaski) Mark Holbrook
Northern Hog Sucker

13.0

West Fork White River (Hamilton) Craig Bambrough
Quillback

18.0

Cicero Creek (Tipton) Craig Bambrough
River Redhorse

29.0

East Fork White River (Martin) Robert Lee
Silver Redhorse

23.0

Muscatatuck River (Jennings) Lane Kelley
White Sucker

19.5

Lake of the Woods (Marshall) Robert Ecenbarger, Sr.
Herring Gizzard Shad

14.3

Wabash River (Tippecanoe) Liu He
Goldeye

16.5

Wabash River (Fountain) Mark Walker
Skipjack Herring

16.5

Ohio River (Warrick) Keith Rollins
Other Bowfin

29.0

Tippecanoe River (Pulaski) Mark Holbrook
Longnose Gar

43.0

Wabash River (Tippecanoe) Liu He
Shovelnose Sturgeon

29.0

Ohio River (Clark) Joe Johnson
Spotted Gar

34.0

Lake Webster (Kosciusko) Tom Tymorek