Contact(s): Karl Scheidegger, state fish records coordinator, 608-267-9426 Karl.Scheidegger@wisconsin.gov
MADISON - State fish records have been falling fast this summer but none faster than for an invasive species shot with a bow and arrow and hauled from the Mississippi River.
Michael Mahnke of Waukesha shot a 38-1/4 inch, 34 pound, 7.2 ounce grass carp on August 5 from the Mississippi River in Grant County. The fish broke the existing record by over a pound and a half.
The ink was barely dry on his record when two-and-a-half hours later Tim Hill of Lancaster shot a 40-3/4 inch, 39 pound grass carp the same day from the Mississippi River in Grant County. Hill's record bested Mahnke's record by about 4 1/2 pounds.
"I thought two and a half months was a short time to hold a record," says Karl Scheidegger, the fisheries biologist who has coordinated the state record fish program for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 1995, referring to a longnose gar record change from earlier this year. "But two-and-a-half hours? It's the shortest held record on record in Wisconsin."
Grass carp are an invasive species that were first introduced into southern states in the 1960s to control aquatic vegetation in fish farms and have since spread through accidental and illegal, intentional releases. Grass carp have the potential to seriously disrupt the food web, as they can consume considerable amounts of aquatic vegetation that other organisms rely on for food and cover.
The other state fish record was set in August, also in the alternate methods category and also eclipsing a recent state record. Jason Behrens of Arcadia shot a 56-1/8 inch, 19 pound, 5.4 ounce longnose gar on May 24 from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County. The fish broke the current record by almost a pound.
But Behrens' record was short-lived. Noah Renner of Mauston shot a 54-1/2 inch, 22 pound 12.8 ounce longnose gar on Aug. 4 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County. The fish broke Behrens's record by over three pounds.
See what other state fish records have been set in 2018 in DNR's three record categories: traditional, by weight category; alternative method; and live release.
Learn what steps to take if you think you have a state record catch. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search "record fish."