Miller gets state record smallmouth buffalo
Michael Miller's father introduced him to bow fishing in 1997.
It's been an enjoyable hobby he's stuck with ever since, and his goal each year is to better the previous year's largest fish.
On May 14, Miller, 32, shot the biggest fish of his life on Lake Mitchell, a 50-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth buffalo. When he landed it, he knew right away it would be a state record.
"Just a while ago I was looking at the state record on the Game, Fish and Parks website and I saw the smallmouth buffalo state record was 36.8 pounds," said Miller, who now lives in Mount Vernon. "When I shot mine, I didn't realize it was that big until I got it out of the water. When I got it out, then I saw."
The fish, which resembles a carp, was 38 inches long. He shot it five feet from shore on the west end of the lake and it took about 10 minutes to land after shooting it in the back.
Miller, a Pukwana native who's worked at Trail King for about 10 years, took it to Shorty's Locker in Mitchell to get it officially weighed. He then had to bring it to Chamberlain to have the fish confirmed, which was done by senior biologist Chris Longhenry.
Miller now holds the unrestricted state record, meaning the fish came by any legal means other than a hook and a line. His name appears on the Game, Fish & Parks website as the record holder and he received a certificate from the GF&P, recognizing his fish.
After the record day, Miller went back to Lake Mitchell the next day hoping for more luck.
"I went out and shot another smallmouth buffalo that was 47 pounds," he said.
The state unrestricted bigmouth buffalo was also caught on Lake Mitchell. Dan Sehr got the 47-pound fish on May 19, 2005, with a bow and arrow. The state restricted record, meaning a fish caught with a line and hook that was not snagged, was also caught on Lake Mitchell.
Reg Young caught a 51-pound, 9-ounce fish on April 24, 1993.
Those three fish are the only state records that have come out of Lake Mitchell.