Phil Duracz of Chesterton, Indiana, broke the state record for whitefish while fishing on Lake Michigan near Portage on March 6.
Duracz’s catch weighed 9.34 pounds, besting the previous record from 2019 by 1.65 pounds.
Lake whitefish state records are the most frequently broken in Indiana in the past decade. This is the eighth time the record has fallen since 2012.
Prized as excellent table fare, whitefish are becoming more sought after by Indiana’s Lake Michigan anglers. They can be caught near shore from November to April, typically when water temperatures are below 50 degrees.
“Whitefish is usually caught by pier anglers using simple techniques, such as bottom fishing with a slip sinker rig with a short leader, small hook, and single salmon egg or piece of nightcrawler,” said Ben Dickinson, Lake Michigan biologist with the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “As the ecosystem changes due to invasive species, whitefish are switching from eating mostly invertebrates to incorporate more small baitfish such as invasive round gobies. “We’re also seeing more boat anglers targeting them successfully using jigging spoons or small swimbaits worked slowly on the bottom.”
Other Record Fish in Indiana
Indiana’s oldest standing record fish was set in 1963 with a 30 lb. Freshwater Drum in White River, Martin County by Garland Fellers. Another record fish of note is a twin record Walleye weighing in at 14 lb. 4 oz. One was caught in Kankakee River, Lake County Leon Richart in 1974, the other in the Tippecanoe River by Donald Tedford in 1974. The largest record Indiana perch was weighed 2 lb. 8 oz from a Gravel Pit in Vigo County by Roy W. Burkel Jr. in 1981.
The established IFGA world record whitefish caught on rod and reel was set in 1984 in Meaford, Ontario, Canad by Dennis Laycock, weighing in at 14 lb. 6 oz.
Find out more about Indiana’s state record fish online at the Indiana DNR Fishing Records. Lake Michigan fishing information is on where to fish, and fishing conditions are available on Indiana Fish & Wildlife page.