Indiana Fish of the Year Winners
If you wanted to catch an Indiana Fish of the Year winner in 2010, Lake Michigan was the place to cast.
It also helped if your name was Kotfer.
Hoosiers pulled five winners out the Indiana portion of the Great Lake during the year-long contest, which recognizes the person who catches the longest fish of each species tracked.
Ron Kotfer caught a 24.0-inch lake trout in the Porter County waters of the lake using a jig and grub. He also caught a 33.0-inch steelhead trout in the Porter County portion of the lake using a J-plug. His 13-year-old son Michael caught a 31.0-inch chinook salmon in the Porter County waters of the lake using a J-plug. Michael also caught a 7.0-inch green sunfish from a private lake in Fountain County using a jig and plug to earn Fish of the Year for that species.
Steve Fiorio of Dyer and David Kniola of Michigan City landed the other Lake Michigan fish. Fiorio caught a 16.6-inch yellow perch while fishing Lake Michigan in Lake County using a minnow. Kniola caught a 31.5-inch brown trout in the LaPorte County waters of the lake but didn't report a bait or lure used.
As successful as Ron and Michael Kotfer were, 16-year-old Danny owned bragging rights for the most Fish of the Year with three. Danny Kotfer's biggest Fish of the Year was a 29.0-inch coho salmon he took from Porter County's portion of the Little Calumet River using a Blue Fox spinner. He also caught a 12.0-inch rock bass from the same waters using the same type of lure, and a 13.0-inch bullhead from a private lake in Fountain County using a jig and grub.
The longest Fish of the Year was a 48.0-inch blue catfish caught by David Ben Mullen, a Central resident, in the Ohio River, using a skipjack herring as bait.
Other notable fish were caught in smaller waters. Fiorio caught a 47.0-inch muskie from Tippecanoe Lake in Kosciusko County using a Toppy Crappie. Kelly Williams, an Indianapolis man, caught a 42.0-inch striped bass in Cecil M. Harden Lake in Parke County, also known as Raccoon Lake, using a bluegill as bait. Patrick Ross of Mishawaka caught a 32.0-inch walleye in the St. Joseph River in Elkhart County using a bass minnow as bait. Mark Nance of Greenfield caught a 26.0-inch saugeye out of Huntingburg Lake in Dubois County, using a jig.
There were 56 entries for Fish of the Year; 30 were recognized as winners. River and stream fishing accounted for 12 of the 30 entries. Eight came from inland lakes, and five came from private ponds. To view other Fish of the Year honorees and their information, see //www.fishing.IN.gov/file/fw-Fish_of_the_Year_Winners_2010.pdf.
As announced in earlier news releases, two Hoosier anglers caught fish of state-record weight in 2010.
Jonathan VanHook of Rockville caught a 39.08-pound striped bass in Cecil M. Harden Lake in Parke County, using a live bluegill as bait. His striper surpassed the previous state record, caught in the Ohio River in 1993, by almost 4 pounds.
Lindsey Fleshood of Wabash established the first state record for a shortnose gar in 2010. Her fish weighed 1.58 pounds and measured 24.25 inches. She caught the fish in the Wabash River in Wabash County using a live creek chub as bait. She also caught the white bass and grass carp Fish of the Year.
For information about the State Record Fish or Fish of the Year programs, go to //www.fishing.IN.gov/3577.htm. To find out where to fish, go to and click on the interactive "Where to Fish Finder" link. To purchase an Indiana fishing license online, see www.IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov.