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Minnesota Angler Breaks His Own State Record With 17.5-Inch Crappie

After catching a record black crappie in April, this angler has done it again with a second, larger fish
Natalie Krebs Avatar
Minnesota state record black crappie.
Sprengeler with his record black crappie caught in April (left) and the new record, caught in May (right). Photos courtesy of MDNR

A Minnesota man broke the state’s record for the largest black crappie ever caught and confirmed not once, but twice this spring. Nolan Sprengeler landed a 17.5-inch black crappie in May that was certified at 3 pounds 8.9 ounces, breaking the record he’d set only a month before.

Details on the catch are scarce since Sprengeler has declined an interview, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that he’d broken his own record. That first fish was a 16.25-inch black crappie caught in April. Sprengeler, who lives in a Minneapolis suburb, did not appear to submit the fish’s girth for the record books. Nor does Minnesota include catch locations in its modern fishing records, though Minnesota’s New Country claims the record crappie was caught in Rice County.

A record black crappie on a certified scale.
A certified scale reads 3 pounds 8.9 ounces.

Norsk Lithium, via Facebook

Minnesota tracks three types of state fishing records: certified weight fishing records, catch-and-release records, and historical weight records prior to 1980, when the DNR started requiring certification for records. Sprengler’s fish falls into the first category of certified weight, which requires weighing the fish on a certified scale, a witness signature, and two DNR fisheries biologists to positively identify the species in person (among other requirements).

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Nolan Sprengeler with a black crappie.
The latest record black crappie, caught in May.

Photo courtesy of MDNR

The biggest black crappie ever caught in the state is an unconfirmed catch from 1940. That fish, caught from the Vermillion River, weighed 5 pounds (no ounces reported) and measured 21 inches long.

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In addition to his back-to-back black crappie records, Sprengeler also holds the state record for the largest muskie ever caught and certified in the state. That muskie, caught in November 2021, weighed 55 pounds 14.8 ounces and broke a record that had stood for 64 years.