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Angler Breaks State Record, Helps Capsized Kayaker

Angler Breaks State Record, Helps Capsized Kayaker
Michael Lemanski holds his Michigan state-record cisco. (Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR)

state record
Michael Lemanski holds his Michigan state-record cisco. (Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR)

The man broke the Michigan state record for cisco, then reportedly saw something unusual floating in the water.

A Wisconsin angler made two big catches on a June fishing trip to a Michigan lake  —  one that broke a state record and another that may have saved a life.

Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wis., set a state record for cisco (formerly known as lake herring) with the 6.36-pound fish caught June 9 on Lake Ottawa, located in Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula.

On his way back to the boat ramp, he reportedly helped a capsized kayaker and pulled him to safety, according to the Iron Mountain Daily News. Lemanski told the newspaper he saw something floating in the water while motoring in, and turned around to check it out.

He said he found the man clinging to the kayak, and when he couldn't pull the man into his boat, he towed him slowly to shore.

Lemanski told the newspaper he never got the man's name.

Read more from the Iron Mountain Daily News

The state-record catch, which was caught on a homemade jig and measured 21.8 inches, broke a 25-year-old record. The old record — 5.4 pounds and 25 inches long — was caught 1992 in Grand Traverse Bay.

DNR fisheries biologist Jennifer Johnson verified the catch.

"Although this fish was caught in June, we only recently verified it as a state record," Gary Whelan, the DNR's fisheries research manager, said in a news release. "The reason for the delay stemmed from the fact we wanted to ensure this fish was not a hybrid between a cisco and a lake whitefish. These fish look extremely similar so we gathered DNA from the fish to test its compatibility with what we know about cisco. That test, done by Michigan State University, proved to be a match."

To view a current list of Michigan state-record fish, visit


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