All the Fish (MN Conservation Volunteer)

New story in the DNR’s Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine: All the Fish

When Cayden Hutmacher was 7, he pulled a good-sized pumpkinseed from the depths of Marion Lake, not far from his home in Ottertail. The fish, at 8½ inches long, was big enough to win him the title of Master Angler in the Master Angler Program run by the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame. His dad, Chad Hutmacher, asked him which fish he wanted to go for next.

Cayden had a simple answer: all of them. Or at least all the species that are eligible for size records as part of the Master Angler Program. There are around 138 species of fish native to Minnesota. Many are tiny and impossible to catch with a rod and reel. To qualify for a state record, and for the Master Angler Program, they need to be at least a pound.

At that time, in 2012, there were 63 fish on the list. It included the usual suspects—bass, northern, sunfish, walleye. But most of it was a long list of rarely caught fish, little known outside the niche community of “rough fish” specialists. These were creatures like the longnose gar, the river redhorse, the mooneye, and the American eel.

Read the rest here.