52-pound catfish breaks Michigan record

Niles man catches record-breaking flathead catfish on Barron Lake

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Niles, Mich., resident Dale Blakley reeled in a 52-pound flathead catfish on Barron Lake (Cass County) on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 setting a new state record.

NILES, Mich. - Michigan's Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state record flathead catfish on Monday.

The catfish was caught by Dale Blakley. of Niles, Mich., on Sunday on Barron Lake in Cass County. The catfish weighed in at 52 pounds and measured 46.02 inches.

Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries biologist verified the record of the fish.

Rodney Akey of Niles holds the previous state flathead catfish record that weighed in at 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches.

"Catching this fish was the most exhilarating experience," said Blakley. "It was only the second time I've ever gone ice fishing and it was the only bite we had on the lake the whole day."

The DNR says it should be noted that flathead catfish typically inhabit large river systems. Based on the size of the fish, it mysteriously found its way to Barron Lake several years ago, perhaps through illegal stocking.

State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state record.

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