Indiana's 2011 Fish of the Year contest proves the art of angling has not been lost on our youth.
Fish of the Year recognizes the angler who catches the longest fish of each species tracked. In 2011, anglers submitted entries for 25 species.
Among the youth winners, 10-year-old Rylan Crockett scored the longest fish, a 33.3-inch channel catfish he caught in Cagles Mill Reservoir at the Owen-Putnam County line on cut shad.
Rylan caught the channel cat during an Indiana Catfish Association Tournament with his father and grandfather, Brian and Jim Crockett.
Nine-year-old Evan Logan from Columbus was the youngest angler to win 2011 honors. He tied for first with an 11-inch bluegill taken from a private pond in Johnson County using a worm and bobber.
Teenage brothers Danny and Michael Kotfer of Munster teamed up for four wins. Danny, 17, won for a 31.5-inch coho salmon, caught in the Little Calumet River on a spinner; a 13-inch bullhead, caught at a private Fountain County lake on a night crawler; and tied for first in the green sunfish category with an 8.5-inch specimen pulled from a private Fountain County lake on a twistertail. Michael, 14, won with a 29-inch brown trout, caught in Lake Michigan using a spoon lure.
Danny and Michael's father, Ron Kotfer, also earned wins in three categories. Ron Kotfer caught the largest chinook salmon at 35 inches, in Lake Michigan using a glow spoon lure; the largest rock bass at 10.3 inches, from the Little Calumet River using a spinner; and the largest walleye at 22.5 inches, from Wolf Lake in Lake County using a crankbait.
The longest winning fish among all the 2011 species was a 55.5-inch flathead catfish. Tim Kaiser of Elnora caught the flathead in the Ohio River using a live bluegill as bait.
Other notable winners included:
In the steelhead category, Gene Ray of Paris, Ill., and Greg Dini, of Avilla, tied for first place with fish that measured 35 inches. Ray caught his in the St. Joseph River in St. Joseph County on an egg fly. Dini caught his in the LaPorte County waters of Lake Michigan on a spoon.
William Taylor of Crown Point won bragging rights for a 39-inch northern pike from the Kankakee River. He caught the fish on a double spinner.