New state record fish! Plus more from the DNR

Newest state record fish hooked in Root River 
Mahtomedi student wins at archery nationals 
Learn camping basics at ‘I Can Camp!’ program 
DNR to lift burning restrictions in remainder of Minnesota counties 

Newest state record fish hooked in Root River

New MN State Record golden red horse
New MN State Record golden red horse

A Minneapolis resident has joined an exclusive club of anglers who’ve caught state record fish.

Chad Wentzel landed a record 4-pound golden redhorse on May 8 from a bank of the Root River in Fillmore County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed.

Wentzel was fishing using 6-pound test line. He pitched his worm presentation, leaving the bait on the river bottom until he hooked into the record breaker, which bested the previous record by one ounce.

The golden redhorse is the latest in a string of record-breaking fish caught in the past few years. Six Minnesota state fishing records have fallen since December 2011 with anglers hooking bowfin, river carpsucker, burbot, shovelnose sturgeon, warmouth and golden redhorse.

“Records are broken more frequently than many imagine,” said Mike Kurre, who coordinates the DNR’s state record fish program. “Though still a rare occurrence, catching a state record fish is always in the realm of possibility.”


Prior to Wentzel’s record, here are the most recent chart-topping fish:

  • Ben Ranzenberger of Winona bested the past record warmouth while ice fishing on Dec. 23, 2011, in Bartlet Lake on Pool 6 near Winona. Ranzenberger caught numerous warmouth over the record with the largest weighing 9 ounces. The previous record caught in 2010 and weighed slightly more than 6 ounces. He was fishing with wax worms and a tiny jig.
  • Fred Draeger of Wabasha smashed the current bowfin record of 11 pounds 4 ounces by a whopping 1 pound, 5 ounces on Sept. 14, 2012, when he caught 12 pounds, 9 ounces worth of fighting flesh. Fred enticed the new state record with a gob of nightcrawlers and landed this very interesting looking fish in the back waters of the Mississippi on 8-pound test.
  • Nicholas Nutter of Chaska landed a river carpsucker on Nov. 19, 2012, that weighed an impressive 4 pounds, 6 ounces and had a girth of 21 5/8 inches. His record was caught on the Minnesota River with a jig and ringworm combination and bested the previous mark by 7 ounces.
  • Aaron Guthrie of Bemidji caught a burbot weighing in at 19 pounds, 8 ounces on Feb. 24, 2012, on Lake of the Woods, beating the previous record of 19 pounds, 3 ounces. Guthrie was using a fathead minnow on a tip-up. Guthrie was targeting burbot – also called eelpout – for its flavorful white meat.
  • Sarah Gartner of St. Paul hooked into a shovelnose sturgeon that tipped the scales at 6 pounds, 7 ounces just south of the Red Wing dam Feb. 19, 2012, on the Mississippi River. Gartner was using a multi-colored jig and a minnow to score this new state record. The previous record was 5 pounds, 9 ounces.


An angler who catches a potential state record fish should strictly adhere to these guidelines:

  • Obtain and completely fill out a current application for a Minnesota state record fish. Find them on the DNR website or local DNR fisheries office. The submitted application must be signed, completed, legible (print or type) and witnessed and signed by a notary public.
  • The potential record fish must be weighed on a certified commercial scale legal for trade which carries a sticker affixed by the Minnesota Department of Public Service, Weights and Measures Division, showing that the scale’s inspection and approval falls within Minnesota Statutes for Weights and Measures. Weighing must take place in the presence of two witnesses other than the applicant, or witnessed by a DNR Fisheries or DNR Division of Enforcement person in lieu of the two witnesses, who must sign the application attesting that the official weight was witnessed.
  • At least one good photograph of the fish (taken broadside for further identification) must be submitted with the application. Length and girth measurements of the fish must be taken and recorded on the application, with length measured in a straight line from the tip of the snout to the end of a pinched tail and girth measured around the thickest portion of the body.
  • A DNR Fisheries staff person must identify the species of fish and attest to the correct identity by signing the record fish application.

For a listing of state record fish, a submission form and more information, visit

Mahtomedi student wins at archery nationals 

Focus. Discipline. Persistence. All are attributes shared by many students who take up archery. Confidence comes when students see results from practice and fine-tuning.

One Mahtomedi fifth-grade student has more reason for confidence after winning at national archery competition. Mitch Munion won first place in a field of 904 other fifth graders, and was first among 1,573 fourth and fifth graders at National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Nationals in Louisville, Ky. Competition included archers in fourth through 12th grades from 39 states.

Munion, a student at O.H. Anderson Elementary in Mahtomedi, also won fourth place in the 3-D Challenge in which animal-like foam targets are used. Team head coach Becky Lassila said Munion is in his second year on the archery team. He shot his personal best score at nationals.

“He works hard every time he’s at practice,” Lassila said. “He’s very focused. He loves what he’s doing, which helps immensely.”

Munion and fellow Mahtomedi archers practice with students from White Bear Lake. Between both programs are 140 student archers. Local interest in archery has garnered support from administrators and physical education teachers, who recognize it as a sport and have been working archery into class curriculum, Lassila said.

For students, archery builds self-esteem and confidence, she said.

“Whether they realize it or not, it’s the focus and the discipline that goes into it. When they’re getting into it they’re really focused and they’re really on, and I think that’s a good feeling that they get.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Archery in the Schools program is part of the NASP and aims to train teachers and provide students with the best equipment, training and curriculum available for the lowest price.

In all, 192,000 teacher-reported students in Minnesota participate in archery in the schools programs, said Kraig Kiger, DNR shooting sports education specialist.

“Schools can receive DNR grant money for archery programs,” said Kiger. “We want to help as many students learn to be archers as possible. And who knows how far a student might take their interest in archery. In the case of Mitch Munion, he’s already at the top of his class and has a whole career in front of him. Congratulations are in order.”

Next up for Munion is the NASP World Tournament July 11-13 in Madison Wisc., along with competitors from Canada, Africa and the United Kingdom.

For more information on the DNR Archery in the Schools program, visit

Learn camping basics at ‘I Can Camp!’ program 

Learn to camp or refresh rusty outdoor skills during an overnight I Can Camp! program at a Minnesota state park in June.

These programs, led by experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota, cover basic camping and outdoor skills, including how to set up a tent, how to build a campfire and camp cooking. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants just bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets and pillows).

Some programs are already filled, but the following one-night programs have space available:

  • June 27-28:  Nerstrand Big Woods State Park (near Northfield), Wild River State Park (Center City).
  • June 14-15:  Afton State Park (Hastings), Minneopa State Park (Mankato).
  • June 28-29:   Sibley State Park (New London)

A two-night program, June 27-29, at Glendalough State Park in Battle Lake also has space.

“Camping is fun, and it’s a longstanding Minnesota tradition,” said Eric Pelto, who coordinates the “I Can Camp!” programs for the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “Our friendly, knowledgeable ‘I Can Camp!’ instructors will be on hand to help families with everything from tent set-up to meal preparation. They’ll also try to make sure everyone has fun by providing opportunities to try geocaching, digital photography and other activities that the whole family can enjoy.”

The cost is $40 (one night) or $60 (two nights) for a tent accommodating up to six people. A one-day vehicle pass is included as part of the program fee.

Reservations can be made online or by phone.

I Can Camp! is part of a series of DNR skill-building programs. Other programs in the series introduce climbing, fishing, paddling and archery to beginners.

These programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

For more information, visit or contact the DNR Information Center at or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DNR to lift burning restrictions in remainder of Minnesota counties 

Burning restrictions are lifted in all Minnesota counties on Friday, May 23, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is lifting the restrictions due to decreased fire danger because of wet conditions and green up moving northward.

Those seeking to burn, need to obtain a burning permit available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per calendar year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. See

Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters are able to turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant.  This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly.

Check the Fire restrictions page on the DNR website at: for information on daily changes to burn permits.

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

The DNR advises anyone doing burning to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If the fire escapes, the homeowner is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Leave a Reply