11-year-old Minnesota Angler Breaks State Record for Tullibee


Austin Stoll may be just 11 years old, but under the tutelage of his father Chris, he is already an experienced angler. Now Austin also has a state record fish under his belt.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the young angler was fishing Sybil Lake in Otter Tail County on March 9 when he landed a record-sized tullibee. Austin’s fish was taken to a certified scale and weighed at five pounds, 11 ounces—eclipsing the previous record by just two ounces. Tullibee, also known as cisco, thrive in cold, oxygen-rich water and are an important forage fish for the state’s most popular game fish.

“Congratulations to Austin on the great catch,” said Mike Kurre, state record fish program coordinator. “Austin and his dad did everything right to certify the fish, and they show how it’s possible to catch a state record fish at any time of the year.”

Landing a record-sized fish is a rare occurrence in Minnesota, as officials only counted one new record in 2014 and none at all in 2013. This is often attributed to the state’s enthusiasm for catch-and-release, as released fish are not eligible for record submissions.

“For each species of fish in the recordbook, there are stories of close calls and fish that got away or were released,” Kurre said. “Anglers must legally harvest a fish to certify it as a record. For some species like muskie, a catch-and-release ethic can trump the angler’s desire to harvest large fish. Sometimes it’s OK and expected to take only photos. Other times, records can hang on the wall and bring back great memories.”

As for the Stoll family, they may very well have two fish to hang on their walls. Remarkably, Austin’s dad caught another large tullibee just days after his son’s record catch. It is believed that both fish are around the same weight.

“They’re going to have both fish mounted, but Austin’s dad was a good sport and let his son bask in the glory,” Kurre said. “I bet more great fishing is in store for the Stoll family, with their long tradition of fishing for all species. Judging by the family photos of Austin’s catches, he’s no stranger to big bass, sunfish and muskie.”

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