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Lake Trout Shatters Previous State Record
Updated June 16, 2016 12:08 PM
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(MICHIGAN CITY) - Indiana's youngest charter boat captain shattered the state lake trout record by "accidentally" catching a fish that was older than he is.

Tyler Kreighbaum, 25, owner of Tightline Fishing Charters in Michigan City, caught the fish in Lake Michigan on Saturday, June 11. It measured 44 inches long and weighed 37.55 pounds, beating the previous state record by about 8 pounds.

"I caught it by accident," Kreighbaum said. "I thought I was hooked on bottom. I was trying to break the line off."

Kreighbaum, his wife and first mate Britney, and five clients were trolling with downriggers near the Michigan state line. Kreighbaum said the trout came up easily, which was another reason he thought he had hooked debris, and not a fish.

Even after landing the fish, Kreighbaum didn't immediately recognize its significance.

"I wasn't really thinking," he said. "I had no clue it was a record. It was a big fish. But I didn't know it was that big."

Biologists estimate the fish was born in the late 1970s because of a clipped fin. In the 1970s, four rounds of lake trout stockings took place in southern Lake Michigan, and all those fish had that fin clipped.

The average lake trout caught in southern Lake Michigan is 8 to 10 years old and weighs 7.5 to 8 pounds, according to Ben Dickinson, assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist for the DNR.

"I was really excited to see a fish that big," Dickinson said. "It blew me away. I hope that this gets more people interested in Lake Michigan. People will see there is a potential to catch such large fish."

Lake trout are native to Lake Michigan. The previous state record was a 29 pound, 4 oz. fish caught by Harold Rodriguez in Lake Michigan in 1993. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service stocks lake trout in southern Lake Michigan every year.

Kreighbaum said he planned on having a taxidermist make two replicas of the fish for display.

Most lake trout are harvested instead of being caught and released. The reason is most don't live after they are caught. Catching fish in deep, cold water and pulling them to surface stresses them out.

Kreighbaum is a full-time diesel mechanic who operates a charter boat on weekends. He is the son of long-time charter captain Steve Kreighbaum.

Tyler Kreighbaum's charter website is www.tightlinefish.com.

Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said the current weather pattern of south winds has resulted in colder water temperatures and good fishing near shore.

When winds blow from the south, it pushes warm water farther into the lake and allows cold water to fill in. That means conditions are conducive to fishing for salmon, steelhead trout and lake trout near shore.

Anglers can monitor water temperatures at different depths at greatlakesbuoys.org.



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