Breaking News
More () »

Teen on way to catching all 63 record-worthy fish species in Minnesota

Cayden Hutmacher has caught 54 species, with nine to go.

OTTERTAIL, Minn. — Cayden Hutmacher was still in elementary school when his dad asked him what kind of fish he wanted to catch next.

Cayden didn’t hesitate.

“I said, ‘Let’s just go get ‘em all. Let’s get every one of them,’” now-19-year-old Cayden recalls.

Chad Hutmacher, Cayden’s dad, smiles, remembering the conversation.

“Eleven years later and thousands in gas and nightcrawlers, this is where we’re at,” Chad says with a laugh.

Credit: Devin Krinke, KARE 11
Chad Hutmacher with the book he keeps to document each of his son’s fish catches.

Where the Hutmachers are “at” is on display on the walls of their Ottertail home. 

In Minnesota, 63 fish species qualify for state size records. Cayden has caught all but nine of them.

“All the fish have obviously been caught, but no one has caught them all,” Chad says.

Cayden intends to be the first.  

Starting with a small cisco when Cayden was 3 or 4 years old, Chad has documented in photos, neatly organized in a binder, his son's catches.

Credit: Devin Krinke, KARE 11
A young Cayden Hutmacher with a cisco, his first official fish catch.

The pages include common catches like the largemouth bass Cayden caught on Auburn Lake in 2005 and the musky he landed in 2016 at Maplewood State Park.

Among his greatest prizes is the shortnose gar Cayden reeled in in 2017. The gar tipped the scale at 4 pounds, 9.6 ounces and earned Cayden a state record.

“A memorable moment,” Cayden says, looking up at the plaque he received from the Minnesota DNR. “I’ll never forget that one.”

Cayden’s dad points to a Minnesota map marked with red dots spanning the state, east to west, north to south, border to border.  

Credit: Devin Krinke, KARE 11
Cayden Hutmacher (left) fishing near the Anoka dam with his brother, Chris.

“We’ve literally covered everywhere in the state,” Chad says. “All the low-hanging fruit has been picked, we’re onto the hard stuff now.”

Hard does not mean impossible. 

Last fall, Cayden caught an American eel, his 54th species, on the lower St. Croix River.

A video his brother Chris shot captured the excitement of the moment.

"It’s very rare; took us like six or seven years,” Cayden says.

Credit: Devin Krinke, KARE 11
Cayden Hutmacher touches the scales on his record-setting shortnose gar

Chris frequently travels with Cayden and Chad, shooting videos he posts on his YouTube channel.

Just for fun, the trio recently traveled from Ottertail to Winona, Anoka, and the Brainerd Lakes area in a successful attempt to catch all six species of Minnesota sunfish on the same day. 

Except for the record-setting gar, Cayden releases what he catches. The fish on the family room wall are all replicas painted by Cayden’s dad based on the photos he took.  

Credit: Devin Krinke, KARE 11
Cayden Hutmacher with replicas of some of the 54 Minnesota fish species he's caught

But is Cayden’s goal attainable? His dad hopes so. “I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish it in my lifetime, because some are just that hard to catch and that rare, but hopefully he can finish it in his,” Chad says.

Regardless, Cayden says the opportunity to explore the state with his dad and brother has been even more rewarding than the catches he’s made.

“It’s been the best part of my life, to be honest with you,” Cayden says.

Boyd Huppert is always looking for great stories to share in the Land of 10,000 Stories! Send us your suggestions by filling out this form.


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

Watch more from the Land of 10,000 Stories:

Watch the latest videos from the Land of 10,000 Stories in our YouTube playlist and subscribe to the Land of 10,000 Stories Complete Collection on YouTube.

Before You Leave, Check This Out