From Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Indiana’s 2011 Fish of the Year contest proves the art of angling has not been lost on the young.
Fish of the Year recognizes the angler who catches the longest fish of each species tracked. In 2011, anglers submitted entries for 25 species.
Four anglers younger than 18 years old accounted for six wins.
Evan Logan of Columbus with his 11-inch bluegill.
Among the youth winners, 10-year-old Rylan Crockett scored the longest fish, a 33.3-inch channel catfish he caught in Cagles Mill Reservoir in Owen County on cut shad. Rylan caught the channel cat while competing in an Indiana Catfish Association Tournament with his father and grandfather, Brian and Jim Crockett.
Nine-year-old Evan Logan from Columbus was the youngest angler to win 2011 Fish of the Year honors. He tied for first in the bluegill category with an 11-inch specimen from a private pond in Johnson County that he caught using a worm and bobber.
Teenage brothers Danny and Michael Kotfer of Munster teamed up for four wins. Danny, 17, won for a 31.5-inch coho salmon, caught in the Little Calumet River in Porter County on a spinner; a 13-inch bullhead, caught at a private lake in Fountain County on a night crawler; and tied for first in the green sunfish category with an 8.5-inch specimen pulled from a private lake in Fountain County on a twistertail. Michael, 14, won for a 29-inch brown trout, caught in the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a spoon lure.
Danny and Michael’s father, Ron Kotfer, also earned wins in three categories. Ron Kotfer caught the largest chinook salmon at 35 inches, from the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a glow spoon lure; the largest rock bass at 10.3 inches, from the Little Calumet River in Porter County using a spinner; and the largest walleye at 22.5 inches, from Wolf Lake in Lake County using a crankbait.
Rylan Crockett, shown with his dad Brian, scored the longest fish with his 33.3-inch channel catfish.
The longest winning fish among all the 2011 Fish of the Year species was a 55.5-inch flathead catfish. Tim Kaiser, an angler from Elnora, caught the flathead in the Ohio River in Perry County using a live bluegill as bait.
Other notable winners included:
• In the steelhead category, Gene Ray of Paris, Ill., and Greg Dini, of Avilla, tied for first place with fish that measured 35 inches. Ray caught his in the St. Joseph River in St. Joseph County on an egg fly. Dini caught his in the LaPorte County waters of Lake Michigan on a spoon.
• Joshua Gansman of Tennyson won in both the sauger and saugeye categories. Gansman caught a 19-inch sauger from a private pond in Warrick County on a redeye shad and a 24-inch saugeye from Huntingburg Lake in Dubois County, also on a redeye shad.
• William Taylor of Crown Point won bragging rights for a 39-inch Northern pike from the Kankakee River in Lake County. He caught the fish on a double spinner.
One angler caught a fish of state-record weight in 2011. Nine year-old Noah Smith of Delaware, Ohio, established the first state record for a spotted gar. He caught the 29.2-inch, 3.2-pound fish from Crooked Lake in Steuben County using a live minnow.
New for 2012 in the contest, the Indiana Record Fish Program and Fish of the Year will recognize the lake whitefish species. In Indiana, lake whitefish are primarily caught in Lake Michigan in early spring and late fall.
For information about the Indiana State Record Fish or Fish of the Year programs, go to http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3577.htm.