Skip to main content

Potential Minnesota Record Walleye Caught, Released

Potential Minnesota Record Walleye Caught, Released

Don MickelA Minnesota angler caught what was likely the state record walleye -- then let it go.

According to The Bemidji Pioneer, Don Mickel caught and released a 35.1-inch walleye with a 24.25-inch girth April 4 on the Rainy River.

Mickel said he measured the fish on a spring scale at 17.9 pounds, a number that he and fishing buddy Robert Garin doublechecked by calculating the weight in relation to the fish's length.

If that figure was correct, Mickel's catch would have been a Minnesota state record, breaking the incumbent record set by a 17.8 pounder caught May 13, 1979, in the Seagull River.

So why did he release it?

"As soon as I caught and measured the walleye I called the DNR, told them that I might have the state record and asked them what to do," Mickel told the Pioneer. "They told me that the walleye was a catch-and-release fish and that, because of the regulation, it had to be released and couldn't be recognized as a state record."

However, Mickel submitted his line to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., which determined Mickel's 4-pound test line had a breaking point of 5.23 pounds, giving him the world record in the 4- to 6-pound class. A replica of the fish will be mounted in Mickel's home along with a certificate and photo of the fish.

This isn't the first time Mickel has flirted with a state record, he said, adding that he caught a 13-pound, 6-ounce walleye in Kansas several years ago, only to see the record broken a couple weeks later.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now