Story and interesting video here:
June 09, 2019 11:03 PM
Scientific testing has confirmed a fish caught in the Brainerd Lakes Area is very rare. It’s a huge and bright orange fish that many have never seen before.
Anglers bring a lot of interesting fish into Wild North Taxidermy, located outside of Brainerd. But this one is different, as it’s a mystery.
It looks like a giant goldfish, but it’s not– they are carp.
What Jason Fugate caught bow-fishing in late April, on a lake he wishes to keep secret, is a bright orange, bigmouth buffalo fish– the largest in the sucker family.
Jason was wearing a camera on a head-strap. The video shows the fish appearing as a big, white blip in the water. He says it glowed. He fired twice and missed. He finally hit the big fish on his third try.
“Got him on the last shot” said Fugate. “Really it wasn’t until after he was in the boat that I even realized what this fish was. And that it was so orange and you know, so big.”
The bigmouth buffalo weighed 33.1 pounds and was 38 inches long. Remarkable for its size and rare for its orange color.
After checking with local experts, Fugate was referred to NDSU Biologist Dr. Alec Lackmann. He’s looked at thousands of bigmouth buffalo and just published a research paper Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus sets freshwater teleost record as improved age analysis reveals centenarian longevity.
“But when I saw the first pictures that Jason sent me I was actually pretty shocked because it was a bright, vivid orange,” said Lackmann. “I had never seen something like that all across the entire body of the fish. So it was really striking and it surprised me, even though I’ve looked at thousands of bigmouth buffalo over the past eight or nine years.”
Lackmann removed the otolith from the fish. The stones in the ear can determine age.
“One of my hypotheses is that it’s just a very old fish,” said Lackmann. “And it might have just accumulated a lot of things over its lifetime. And that’s why it was just so vivid orange like this.”
Lackmann says bigmouth buffalo are misunderstood. They are native fish that are good for lakes and rivers. And they live longer than anyone realized.
“So it was previously thought that they could live 10 to 20 years max, maybe 30 years. But some of the first fish I began aging in Minnesota were well over 85 years old, even up to 110 years of age,” said Lackmann.
After careful examination back at his lab at NDSU, Lackmann confidently believes this is one of the oldest bigmouth buffalo fish he’s ever seen. And its age has something to do with its bright orange color.