Indiana Fisherman Catches State-Record Yellow Perch During Local Fishing Derby

Even though Blas Lara didn’t win the Mayor’s Fishing Derby on Lake Michigan last month, he was still the talk of the tournament. That’s because Lara caught a jumbo yellow perch during the derby, breaking a state record that’s stood for 43 years. His fish weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces, and beat out the previous record by more than half a pound, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which made Lara’s record official on Wednesday.

Lara, who could not be reached for comment, reportedly caught his perch from a dock at Hammond Marina on the shore of Lake Michigan in Lake County. The local marina hosted the 25th annual Mayor’s Fishing Derby, a free, family-oriented event that prohibits the use of boats. Prizes were awarded for the largest salmon, trout, and bass, according to the derby’s organizers.

Hammond Marina called attention to Lara’s jumbo perch in a Facebook post that was shared just after noon on April 20. “Do we have a record breaker? … DNR is enroute to weigh and measure,” the marina wrote. A picture in the post shows the fat perch with some crappie and sunfish Lara also caught that day. About four hours later, the marina shared a follow-up post congratulating Lara on the new state record catch.

Lara’s fish weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces. Photograph courtesy Hammond Marina

It’s unknown what baits or rig Lara was using when he caught the yellow perch. The local derby allowed the use of both live bait and artificial lures.

Judging from the photos, Lara’s 3-plus-pound perch was a female fish loaded with eggs. This aligns with the mid-April to mid-June period when yellow perch typically spawn in Lake Michigan, according to the IDNR. These fish are native to the region and a popular target for Indiana anglers.

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A few social media users questioned Lara’s decision to keep the fish, while others pointed out that yellow perch populations are stable enough that the harvest of one female spawner shouldn’t have much of an effect. Although the IDNR says there was a slight decline in Lake Michigan’s yellow perch populations during the 1990s and early 2000s, the agency believes those numbers have rebounded thanks to a few years of solid recruitment (a biological term for juvenile fish reaching maturity).

“The 2015 year-class was the biggest ever recorded, and the 2016 year-class was also better than many in recent history,” the agency wrote in in 2018. “These two year-classes will start to provide outstanding perch fishing in 2018 and beyond.”   

The post Indiana Fisherman Catches State-Record Yellow Perch During Local Fishing Derby appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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