8th grader, Brenna H. brought in quite the find today...a 30cm (12") monster salamander. I had an idea what it was but wanted to contact the professionals. Here is what Dr. Peter Ducey from SUNY Cortland had to say:
Yes, you are correct that this is an adult mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus), a fully aquatic salamander found in many of the large lakes and river systems in this part of the country. They have been reported to be active all year, including under the ice, and are sometimes caught by people while fishing.