Corey Kitzmann, of Davenport, Iowa, knows what it’s like to catch a freshwater monster. The 57 ¼-inch muskellunge he caught back in August was recently certified as a new Minnesota catch-and-release state record. The nearly 5-foot-long muskie measured 25 ½ inches in girth and had an estimated weight of 47 pounds.
Kitzmann was fishing alone at Lake Vermilion, a more than 40,000-acre Canadian Shield lake west of Lake Superior. He was working a bucktail on 80-pound line when the toothy critter ate.
“When I set the hook, I knew immediately that I had a nice fish on,” he said. “It wasn’t until the fish made its way to the side of the boat that I realized I had a true giant.”
But getting the fish to the boat wasn’t the end of the fight. Kitzmann was able to net the fish solo, but he had to wave down a nearby boater to help haul it out of the water for photos before a successful release.
Minnesota’s certified-weight state record for Muskie is 54 pounds. That 56-inch fish was caught way back in 1957 at Lake Winnibigoshish. The IGFA all-tackle world record for muskie has stood since 1949. It weighed 67 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught from Lake Court Oreilles in Wisconsin.