Michigan’s ice fishing season seems to be heating up, especially after wildlife officials recorded the second new fish record in under a month. Aaron Slagh of Holland finished his trip to Muskegon Lake last Tuesday with a 1.93-pound white perch. The fish was measured at 13.25 inches long and subsequently inducted into the state’s record books.
“I actually thought when I hooked it that it was probably a walleye,” Slagh told OutdoorHub. “It was only when I brought it through the ice that I saw it was a perch. It’s pretty big, especially for a perch.”
Big enough to knock aside the old state record, which was taken by Kyle Ryan from Lake Huron in 2002. That fish weighed 1.88 pounds and also measured 13.25 inches long.
Like much of the country, Michigan is seeing an unusually cold winter. That does not seem to bother Slagh or his fellow ice fishermen, however, as cold weather just means better ice.
“It was a nice sunny day, but really, really cold,” Slagh recalled. “For me it was just another normal day on the ice. We were actually going after yellow perch, but I happened to catch this one.We weighed it on a couple of certified scales and when we looked up the current record we realized it might very well be the next one.”
The angler said he was using a medium-light ice rod with a Hali jig. Slagh is a lifelong angler and Muskegon Lake was familiar territory, but he admitted that he and his two fishing companions were surprised by the size of the fish.
Officials with the state’s Department of Natural Resources said they anticipate a good rest of the season.
“This winter, despite the extreme weather most of Michigan has been experiencing, is shaping up to be a great time for many anglers,” shared DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter in a statement. “This latest state record once again showcases the quality of the state’s fisheries.”
As for Slagh, he said he will be mounting the fish.
Earlier this month another Michigan angler caught a record-setting 52-pound flathead catfish. You can read about that story here.
Image courtesy Aaron Slagh