Record Walleye Caught in Washington

There's a new state record walleye in Washington, and it's the fish of a generation - a 20.32-pounder caught by John Grubenhoff out of Lake Wallula (Columbia River).

The fish - caught on on Feb. 28 - is notable not only because it's a record, but also for being the first officially recorded 20-pound plus walleye since 1988.

"It's a big deal," , said Bruce Bolding to the Seattle Times, the Department Warm Water Fisheries Manager. The fish was caught on Feb. 28 and certified a record on March 5 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Grubenhoff was trolling in 22 feet of water upstream along a current break at 0.8 mph when he caught the fish. It bit on a Rapala J-13 lure six feet behind a 2 oz. “bottom walker” weight. This fish came on the heels of another big walleye catch on what was clearly a great day for fishing.

“A cold front was forecast to come in that evening so I figured that fishing would be good,” said Grubenhoff to Field and Stream, noting the water temperature was 37.2 degrees. “Boy was it. My first fish came within about 10 minutes, a nice hen around 14 pounds. I released her as usual and went back at it.”

And not too long after, this is what he caught:

washington record Walleye Grubenhoff
John Grubenhoff holds up his record fish.
Photo credit: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The egg-laden female measured 35.5 inches in length and had a girth of 22.75 inches.

Lake Wallula has long been a prime walleye destination. The previous record came from here was well, a 19.3-pounder caught by Mike Hepper on Feb. 5, 2007. Hepper's fish measured 33.7 inches long and had a girth of 22.2 inches.

Grubenhoff's fish is now the fifth largest state record. Who holds first place? That would be Mabry Harper's famous 25-pound walleye, caught back in 1960 out of Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee. This fish still stands as the IGFA All-Tackle World Record.

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