A new state record fish was caught in Southwest Michigan earlier this summer and was recently verified. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a record setting hybrid sunfish was caught out of Lake Anne in Berrien County's Grand Mere State Park. Joel Heeringa of St. Joseph was the lucky angler back on July 9th while still-fishing with a crawler. The statistics for the record fish were a weight of 1.8 pounds and it measured 11.7 inches.

Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries unit manager for southern Lake Michigan, verified the record recently. Because the fish was believed to be a hybrid, additional identification was required and it delaying final confirmation for a couple of months. The fish also was examined by University of Michigan fisheries experts who confirmed it indeed was a hybrid sunfish.

The previous hybrid sunfish state record actually was a tie between two fish. One caught on May 28, 1988, by Daniel Manville on Arbutus Lake in Grand Traverse County and one caught June 1, 1988, by Lloyd Jarman, Jr. on Doan’s Lake in Allegan County. Both of those fish weighed 1.44 pounds.

State records in Michigan are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.