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Donald Peyer of Whitewater reeled in a 6-pound, 4.8-ounce sauger on April 2 from the Mississippi River in Pierce County. The fish, which measured 23.75 inches long, weighed nearly half a pound more than the previous record sauger of 5 pounds, 13 ounces.
"It was a pretty good fight," says Peyer. "The fish took it (bait) back under the boat."
Peyer had been fishing for three days on the river with family and friends, and the group had been planning to leave at 11 a.m. that day when the fish bit around 10 a.m. on an artificial bait.
Peyer wrestled with the fish for a while and then landed the sauger, much to the delight of his fishing companions.
"Wow! Thatís gotta be a state record," Peyer recalls them saying. "I said, 'I doubt it.'"
He thought the fish was a walleye and was about to release it back into the water because he doesnít keep walleyes over 6 pounds for eating. When his nephew noticed the fish bleeding, Peyer decided to keep it.
His son pulled alongside in another boat and said, "Let me see that big fish. Oh my God, it's a sauger."
DNR fish biologists confirmed that the catch was indeed a sauger. The key characteristic for distinguishing sauger from walleye is the crescent-shaped spots on sauger dorsal fins. Walleye have no such spots.
News of the big catch was in the local paper, and the phone has been ringing since, Peyer says. Asked for any advice on how to catch a state record fish, Peyer, who's been fishing for most of his 57 years said, "You just gotta fish to catch them. I never catch any if I donít go."
Town of Ettrick claims two state fish records for 2007
Anglers in 2007 continued their record setting ways, with Ettrick, population 1,879, grabbing more than its fair share as two anglers from the town set new records for fish caught with a bow and arrow.
Details on other state record fish caught in Wisconsin can be found on the DNR Web site.
What to do if you think you've caught a state record fish
If you think you or someone else has caught a fish that may be a state record, here's what you need to do:
Contact the nearest DNR Service Center to get the fish species positively identified and to find out whether the fish is actually a state record. If possible, take a photo of you holding your prize catch and e-mail it or mail it in to the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management, Box 7921, Madison, Wis., 53707, in care of Karl Scheidegger. E-mail to Karl.Scheidegger@wisconsin.gov
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger - (608) 267-9426
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