MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Getting on the water could be especially fun this summer.

It is already a record year for anglers on Minnesota rivers and lakes.

Students from Brooklyn Park’s North View Middle School spent their day fishing on a field trip.

“Fishing’s great. We’re catching a lot of fishes, so open and green,” said sixth grader Fayedera Vang.

Seventh grader Yuen Cha explained the appeal of fishing.

“When you like catch your first bass, it’s fun and I think it makes you want to fish more,” Cha said.

And this year may be the year to fish more according to the experts. Michael Kurre oversees fishing records at the DNR.

(credit: DNR)

“The trend right now is we’ve got records coming out of our lakes and rivers right now that is unprecedented for state record,” Kurre said. “It’s just incredible.”

And he says strategy only goes so far.

“If you can fish for a record, that’s great, but most of them are caught accidentally,” he said. “Personally, I have a muskie that was 54-and-a-half inches. I was small-mouth fishing when I caught it!”

And he’s far from alone. There are four state records set so far this year for shortnose gar, Diemen Lake sturgeon, Minnick Lake sturgeon and golden redhorse — and the number is climbing.

“I think it has a lot to do with a lot of the healthy waters that we have right now, and I think it’s very good management in catch-and-release practices that seem to be making the difference,” Kurre said.

It’s clear something is working. The fish are biting and the timing could not be better.

The big sturgeon catches are near the Canadian border, but the DNR is seeing big catches in general all over the state.

If you do catch a big one, you can submit it for a record. You will need to have a photo of the fish beside a ruler and a witness to verify.

Click here to view state fishing records.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield