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Landing a huge muskie about as good as it gets

This is record-setting muskie thwas caught Michigan 2012. | FILE PHOTO

This is the record-setting muskie that was caught in Michigan in 2012. | FILE PHOTO

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Pictured is Special Olympic snowshoer Kyle Tuckey of Lake Zurich competing at Chestnut Mountain in Galena at the State Winter Games. He won gold in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter races during blizzard conditions.

On the first day of the tournament, the Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County Crusaders’ relay team of Brittany Nippes, Erik Anderson, Katie Millar, and Chris Walti took gold in their race.

Nine SRACLC snowshoers qualified for the state tournament on Jan. 29 by winning gold in a district tournament.

The third day of competition was filled with many more races for SRACLC athletes and Katie Millar rounded out the tournament with a pair of silver medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. Tammy Busch, 200, and Erik Anderson, 50, also took second place in their final races.

Overall, the SRACLC team won gold in four races, silver in five races, and bronze in three races.

“Coming home from Winter Games with nine medalists was an exceptional way to finish our very successful snowshoeing season,” said Kelly Weber, SRACLC Special Olympics coordinator.

The SRACLC serves residents of the Grayslake Community Park District, Mundelein Park and Recreation District, Vernon Hills Park District and the villages of Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, and Lincolnshire.

Updated: March 24, 2013 6:07AM

How fun would it be to have a giant muskie to show off after catching it on the Chain O’ Lakes or Fox River?

Ryan Stochl of Fox Lake landed a big one back in 2011. His was a 50.75-inch muskie, with a girth of 23 inches. IDNR fisheries biologist Frank Jakubicek said the conversion tables put it at 37.33 pounds.

And we’ve reported on 50-inch muskie being caught at the Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville, but the fish pictured here is a remarkable 59 inches long and had a girth of 29 inches and weighs 58 pounds.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed its weight. It was caught on Lake Bellaire in Antrim County by Joseph Seeberger of Portage, Mich., on Oct. 13, 2012.

It’s now being listed as a world record by the International Committee of the Modern Day Muskellunge World Record Program.

I had never heard of that group before. According to the Michigan DNR, the MDMWRP is a committee of muskellunge scientists, industry leaders, anglers and outdoor media personalities that formed in 2006.

The program facilitates the recording and verification of muskellunge world records, covering a current void of record availability to North American muskellunge anglers for fish in the 58- to 68-pound range.

This range has been chosen because it is considered the maximum ultimate range of growth for this species.

Prior to Seeberger’s submission, there had not been a MDMWRP world-record entry verified.

This group has some high hopes, but in the world of record muskies, controversy lurks like a predator fish in the weeds.

MDMWRP is listing Seeberger’s fish at 58 pounds, 58 inches long, and a girth of 29 inches.

It should be noted MDMWRP rules require a bump board-style length measurement, but the angler only had a flexible tape measure, so that explains the difference between their length and the length reported in the initial DNR press release.

The Michigan DNR says over the past year they have made changes to muskellunge fishing regulations in the hopes of improving fishing opportunities and to further protect the species.

Starting April 1, the possession limit will change to allow anglers to keep only one muskellunge per season, instead of one per day.

Anglers must also obtain a free harvest tag that must be attached to the muskellunge they intend to keep.

These tags are available wherever fishing licenses are sold and will be available March 1.

“Mr. Seeberger’s fish is another example of the capacity of Michigan waters to produce enormous, world-record fish,” said acting Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager Scott Heintzelman. “Added protection from recent regulation changes will allow more of these magnificent fish to reach their maximum potential and provide anglers the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime,” said in the Michigan DNR press release.

Bird-count record

Last week, we plugged the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend because it sounded fun and the whole world was going to do it together for the first time.

Well, bird watchers from 103 countries made history February 15-18, by counting more than 25.5 million birds on 120,000 checklists in four days—and recording 3,144 species, nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species. The data will continue to flow in until March 1.

You just got to say Wow.

The bird count has been run in the United States and Canada for the past 15 years, but this year the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada opened the count to the rest of the world for the first time.

People used eBird, a system that enables people to report birds globally in real-time and explore the results online.

Bird watchers are invited to keep counting every day of the year at

“This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects—number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded.

We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet’s birds are faring as the years go by,” said Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Cornell Lab director.

And Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham had this to say, “People who care about birds can change the world. That’s why this year’s record-setting global participation is so exciting. Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to unite around a shared love of birds and a commitment to protecting them.”

Fast facts: the top 5 most reported bird species were (reported on highest number of checklists): Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, and House Finch. Top 5 Most Common Birds (most individuals reported): Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Red-winged Blackbird, European Starling, and American Coot.

What a hoot.

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