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Catch-and-Release Muskie Record Set in Minnesota

Record-setter was grieving loss of a friend when big fish bit homemade bucktail.

Catch-and-Release Muskie Record Set in Minnesota

Corey Kitzmann of Davenport, Iowa, with his state catch-and-release record muskie. (Photo courtesy Minnesota DNR)

Minnesota DNR has confirmed a new state-record muskellunge, a catch-and-release muskie that was estimated to be nearly 50 pounds.

Corey Kitzmann of Davenport, Iowa, caught the 57 1/4-inch record Aug. 6 on Lake Vermillion. With a girth of 25 1/2 inches, the fish had an estimated weight of 47 pounds, the DNR said in a news release. The record was certified on Oct. 11.

The previous Minnesota catch-and-release record, caught on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County in 2016, measured 56 7/8 inches.

Kitzmannn told the DNR he was sitting alone tying a homemade bucktail lure at his family cabin on Lake Vermillion, when the phone rang and the caller informed him that one of his best friends had passed away. Being alone, he went fishing to grieve.

“I’m not sure there is a better place in the entire world to reflect on life than in a boat on Lake Vermilion,” he said.

The fishing was slow for a few hours before Kitzmann hooked up with that bucktail and 80-pound line. He knew it was a nice fish at the hookset, but it was a giant once he got it to the boat and netted it.

During the entire time he fished, Kitzmann said reflected on his friendship with Brian Cronkleton, who passed from a medical condition at the age of 40.

A nearby boater assisted Kitzmann by taking photos and helping him release the fish. He quickly began calling family and friends with the news of the big catch.

“As the phone calls winded down I couldn’t help but think that one of my best friends, Brian Cronkleton, was looking down on me that day – Aug. 6, 2019, is a day that I’ll certainly never forget,” Kitzmann said in the DNR release.

Read more about his story here.

The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of Minnesota state record.

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