Woodland Trails: Catching that record-breaking fishSo you want to catch a Wisconsin state record fish, huh? Is it skill or just dumb luck that put those guys and gals in the record books?
By: Jim Bennett, Hudson Star-Observer
So you want to catch a Wisconsin state record fish, huh? Is it skill or just dumb luck that put those guys and gals in the record books?
I’ve had chances but my luck was terrible so you won’t be reading my name in any record books. At least not yet!
The record largemouth tips the scales at 11 pounds, 3 ounces. And it was caught way back in 1940 in Lake Ripley. Now that is a big bass. The top smallmouth was 9 pounds, 1 ounce, and it was a taken the same year I was born, 1950, out of Indian Lake in Oneida County.
Rock bass are kind of cool, with the biggie at 2 pounds, 15 ounces, caught in 1990 Shadow Lake, Waupaca County. The biggest white bass went 4 pounds, 6 ounces in 1977 in Okauchee Lake, Waukesha County. And one of my favorite fish, Mr. Bluegill, went 2 pounds, 9.8 ounces in 1995 in Green Bay! I wonder if Brett knows that?
If you want to go after a big fish, try for a buffalo at 73 pounds, 2 ounces in 2004 in Lake Koshkonong, Jefferson County.
The biggest bullhead was a black, 5 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in 1989 in Big Falls Flowage, Rusk County. Of course, the record carp went 57 pounds, 2 ounces, back in 1966 in Lake Wisconsin, Columbia County.
The top channel cat was a 44-pound beast taken in 1962 in the Wisconsin River, Columbia County. The biggest flathead went 74 pounds, 5.1 ounces in 2001 in the Mississippi River, Vernon County.
Now hear is one I might go after. Creek chub at 7.5 ounces in 2006 out of the Root River in Milwaukee! Crappies go with the top black at 4 pounds, 8 ounces, 19.75 inches long in 1967 in the Gile Flowage, Iron County, and the big white crappie was 3 pounds, 13.1 ounces, 16.5 inches, caught in 2003 in Cranberry Marsh, Monroe County.
Of course, the most famous record fish is the muskellunge at 69 pounds, 11 ounces, from way back in 1949 in the Chippewa Flowage, Sawyer County. A couple of the older records are the tiger muskie at 51 pounds, 3 ounces, taken back in 1919 in the Lac Vieux Desert, Vilas County. And the great northern pike was 38 pounds, 0 ounces from way back in 1952 in Lake Puckaway, Green Lake County.
Another favorite is the yellow perch at 3 pounds, 4 ounces, again way back in 1954 Lake Winnebago. The top pumpkinseed went 1 pound, 2 ounces, 9.6 inches in 2003 Big Round Lake, Polk County.
One of my favorite places to fish is Lake Michigan. These big salmon came out of that big farm pond! Atlantic, 23 pounds, 15 ounces, in 1980; coho, 26 pounds, 1.9 ounces, in 1999; the king, or Chinook, went 44 pounds, 15 ounces, back in 1994; pink, 6 pounds, 1.9 ounces, in 1999.
A couple ones I would have loved to have taken were a sauger at 5 pounds, 13 ounces in 1988 from Lake Wisconsin, Columbia County. How about the lake sturgeon at 170 pounds, 10 ounces in 1979 from yellow lake, Burnett County. But one of the best fish in the record book was a walleye that went 18 pounds way back in 1933 on High Lake, Vilas County!
We’ve got lots of trout anglers in this neck of the woods, and the best are a nice brook trout (inland), 9 pounds, 15 ounces, back in 1944 in the Prairie River, Lincoln County. The top brown was a great (inland) record at 18 pounds, 6 ounces, 34.3 inches, in 1984 out of Lake Geneva, Walworth County. Reports have that fish being an old brood sow that was just dumped into the lake and then caught a few days later. The older record was out of the Rush River.
The real record for inland brown out of the big water of Lake Michigan was huge. Imagine the 36-pound, 8.9 ounce brown that came out of Lake Michigan, Kewaunee County, a few years back. This great laker went 47 pounds, 0 ounces back in 1946 Lake Superior, Bayfield County. The best big lake rainbow went 27 pounds, 2 ounces, 42.5 inches long and was taken in 1997 in Lake Michigan near Kewaunee.
As I look at the records of all the fish caught and see how many are older records, I have to wonder if some of them will ever be broken. And then I remember the Jordan Buck. James Jordan shot a monster whitetail deer back around 1919 that was the Wisconsin and world record whitetail deer for years. Then a man named Hanson took a bigger deer in Canada that many thought would never be taken. Today the Jordan Buck stands third, if my records are right. Like the Jordan buck, I have to ask and compare it to the world record muskie. And what about the largemouth or walleye? Will those records ever be broken?
Are there still fish out there that big? I hear reports of big musky but an 11-pound bass or 19-pound walleye? Now those are some records. Remember, there was Lou Gehrig’s record in baseball. It got beat. Cal Ripken is now in the books.
And then there is the perch, yellow, 3 pounds, 4 ounces, caught in 1954 in Lake Winnebago? Which one are you going after? Feeling lucky?