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Record Muskie, Northern Pike Reported in Minnesota

Catch-and-release fishing records highlight summer fishing for toothy predators.

Record Muskie, Northern Pike Reported in Minnesota

15-year-old Brecken Kobylecky of Geneva, Ill., caught this 46 1/4-inch northern pike, a state catch-and-release record. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

There aren't many more exciting angling experiences in Minnesota than battling brutish toothy fish like northern pike and muskellunge.

This summer hasn't disappointed, especially for two anglers who had record-setting experiences on Lake Vermilion and Basswood Lake, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported.


The agency said catch-and-release state records were confirmed for northern pike, and tied for musky this summer.

Minnesota compiles state records for catch-and-release length for four species, muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon and flathead catfish. Records by weight are also kept for more than 50 species, including the above species.


Lake Vermilion's Musky Repeat

Todd Kirby's 57 1/4-inch muskie caught July 23 solidified Lake Vermilion's reputation as a top muskie-fishing destination. The Hudson, Wis., angler's musky tied the state catch-and-release record set in 2019, also out of Vermilion.

Kirby said in a DNR news release that he and fishing partners John and Will Gavic faced unstable conditions and a huge storm front moving through that Friday night on Vermilion. The fish were active, resulting with what was Kirby's personal-best musky, a 48-incher.

GAF-Minnesota-Records
Todd Kirby's 57 1/4-inch muskellunge tied the state catch-and-release record, which also was caught at Lake Vermilion. (Photo courtesy Minnesota DNR)

Around 10:30 p.m., the record fish hit around 15 feet from the boat.

"I compared it to reeling in a large moving log and after a few dark splashes, she was in the net. Everything just happened so fast," Kirby said in a news release.




Last-Minute Northern Pike

On June 19, 15-year-old Brecken Kobylecky of Geneva, Ill., fishing with an Ely-based fishing guide on Basswood Lake, set the catch-and-release state record for northern pike with only about 10 minutes left on his final day of fishing.

They were trolling for pike when the 46 1/4-inch record struck. The previous record was a 45 1/4-inch northern caught on Rainy River in 2018.


"We hooked onto a huge pike that was barely hooked, and could hardly land it due to the sheer size and weight of the fish," Kobylecky said. "The whole experience went by in a flash but it was an experience of a lifetime I'll never forget."

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