ABOVE: Jack Burke of Stillwater set a Minnesota sturgeon catch-and-release record when he boated this 73-inch sturgeon in the Rainy River on May 4.

A Stillwater angler set a catch-and-release Minnesota record May 4 for lake sturgeon, the DNR announced.

Jack Burke and his partner, Michael Orgas, were fishing the Rainy River in Koochiching County, and had boated 20 fish in three days including six lake sturgeon over 60 inches before hooking into the  state record – a 73-inch long whopper.

“We had been having some great action and knew there were big fish in the Rainy River,” Burke said. “This particular fish took about 45 minutes to reel in. When we got it closer to the boat it blew some bubbles and came to the top; I knew it was a huge fish!”

Burke caught the fish around 11 a.m.. May 4 using a muskie rod. He had spooled 80-pound-test braided line onto his reel, and was fishing with a circle hook and crawlers. The fish had a 30-inch girth. This beats the previous record by 3 inches that was set by two  anglers who separately boated 70-inch fish on the same day in April 2017, the DNR said.

Dustin Stone caught a record Minnesota silver redhorse while fishing for lake sturgeon on the Rainy River April 28.

Meanwhile, the Rainy River also yielded a silver redhorse record this spring.

Dustin Stone caught his record silver redhorse in the certified weight category of the state's record fish program, the DNR said.

Stone caught the 10-pound, 6-ounce fish while angling for lake sturgeon on the Rainy River April 28. He was fishing with 80-pound-test braided line and using a night crawler for bait.

“We had been doing very well fishing for sturgeon, landing seven fish over the 60-inch mark,” Stone told DNR record keepers. “We started catching a bunch of suckers and redhorse before this fish, so this fish felt quite a bit bigger than the others.”

Stone told the DNR he almost released the fish until his partner advised him to check the weight and current silver redhorse record.

The new state record silver redhorse was weighed on a certified scale at a meat shop in Granite Falls,  the DNR said, where two observers witnessed the weighing. Two DNR fisheries experts in Ortonville confirmed the species identification of silver redhorse. The official weight is 10-pounds, 6-ounces with a length of 26-3/4 inches and a girth of 17-1/2 inches, beating the previous state record of 9-pounds, 15-ounces held since 2004.

Two kinds of Minnesota state records are kept for fish: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish of each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

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