West Michigan fisherman breaks state record with Gun Lake catch

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BARRY COUNTY, Mich. — A Middleville man broke a state fishing record for freshwater drum, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed Tuesday.

According to a release, Mark Leep’s fish weighed 28.61 pounds and measured 34.02 inches.  He caught it while spearing on Gun Lake the afternoon of Jan. 24.

A DNR fisheries biologist verified Leeps’ record.

Photo from the Michigan DNR

Photo from the Michigan DNR

The previous state record dates back to May 1973, when James Black of Muskegon caught a freshwater drum weighing in at 26 pounds and measuring 37.5 inches.

State records are recognized by weight only, the DNR said in a release.   Freshwater drum are typically found in the Great Lakes, and the DNR believes Leep’s catch made its way to Gun Lake several years ago.

Because there are limited connections to a large river, officials say the fish may have made its way there through illegal stocking.

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