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Rare ‘golden crappie’ caught on Minnesota lake

Rick Konakowitz has been ice fishing for over 25 years, and last week he caught something that he has never even seen before – a golden crappie.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 9:18 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:53 PM CST
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NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) — Rick Konakowitz has been ice fishing for over 25 years, and last week he caught something that he has never even seen before – a golden crappie.

“My first impression was that I thought that it was a little bit darker than I thought. Maybe it was a sunfish, but then I got it out of the hole and thought, ‘what the heck is this?’” Konakowitz explained.

Konakowitz couldn’t believe his eyes when he pulled out his once-in-a-lifetime catch that he plans to display. He caught it on Clear Lake, just outside of New Ulm.

Konakowitz and his fiancée Tammy Wendland were as equally shocked by the number of people who have reached out to them.

“It was mostly the replies that I got was ‘oh my gosh this is a rare fish’ and ‘you should really hold onto that,’” Wendland stated.

“We got replies from Kansas City and from California already on this thing. I was like ‘wow.’ I didn’t expect it to grow like that,” Konakowitz said.

Loren Miller, a fish geneticist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, says this breed of fish isn’t something you see every day.

“They are kind of rare mutations, so you have to have a couple of parents carrying them so they can produce them. Then they glow, so, obviously, out in the wild there are a lot of big fish out there waiting to eat them, so it is a surprise that many at all would make it to get that large that old,” Miller explained.

(KEYC News Now)

It’s a xanthic crappie and is similar to albino animals. This breed of crappie has some extra pigment and flash.

Miller says this might not be the last time we see this golden crappie around southern Minnesota.

“This fish probably had numerous brothers and sisters that were yellow but died or were eaten at a young age. So none of them make it behind, so it means those genes are in that lake too, which means another one could show up at another time down the line,” Miller said.

Konakowitz hopes his story resonates with those who are the future of fishing.

“I hope it inspires kids to come out and try fishing, and maybe they will get their chance to get something like that.”

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