Indiana big-fish record falls for 3rd time since 2022
CEDAR LAKE, Ind. (WISH) — Just months after Indiana twice in two weeks broke a big-fish record, another Hoosier angler now claims the title in a species native to Lake Michigan.
Anthony Burke, of Cedar Lake, was fishing for perch in Lake Michigan on Jan. 6 when he landed a burbot. His freshwater catch was 37.25 inches long and weighed 14 pounds, 3.6 ounces, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says. The fish, native to Lake Michigan, can appear to some people as a cross between a whiskered catfish and an eel.
Burke’s catch bested the previous record held by Phillip Duracz by nearly 3 pounds. Duracz on Jan. 10, 2023, caught a burbot weighing 11.4 pounds on Lake Michigan.
On Dec. 30, 2022, also on Lake Michigan, Scott Skafar caught a 10.2-pound burbot that beat Indiana’s 1990 record by 2.5 pounds. That same day, he caught another burbot that bested the 1990 record by nearly 2 pounds.
Ben Dickinson, a Lake Michigan fisheries research biologist for the state, said in a statement, “Unseasonably warm weather and light winds on Lake Michigan the last several winters have provided boaters with a longer open-water fishing season and more opportunities to catch fish that are usually not in our waters, like burbot.”
Burbot typically spend most of their time offshore in deep, cold water in Illinois or Michigan’s jurisdictional waters. During late fall and winter, burbot move into shallower Indiana waters to feed and spawn.
Burbot are good to eat. They are in the cod family and have firm, white flesh, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Sean Konrad caught the largest burbot in the world, at 25 pounds 2 ounces, on March 27, 2010, on Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada, according to The International Game Fish Association.
Indiana also keeps a list online of record-sized fish.