Fishing News: 2nd Largest Muskie Ever Caught
Monster Muskie Madness
By Alex Moore
Publication: The Fishing News
Issue: Jan 15 -Mar 15 2001
Toronto Angler Martin Williamson Successfully Landed The Second Largest Muskie Ever Caught In Canada.
Angler: Martin Williamson
Depth: 50 feet
Lure Depth: 24 feet
Date: November 26
Location: Georgian Bay
Fish: 61-pound Muskie
Length: 53.5 inches
Girth: 31.5 inches
NOTE: Unofficially The Second Largest Muskie Ever Caught In Canada.
67 POUNDS, 8 OUNCES: The world record was taken from Lake Court Oreilles in Hayward, Wisconsin, on July 24, 1949 by Cal Johnson.
65 POUNDS: The Canadian record was caught in 1988 by Ken O'Brien in the Blackstone Harbor area of Georgian Bay on a small Rapala crankbait. The fish was 58 inches long and was estimated to be 30 years old.
HISTORY OF MISTERY: For years the world record stood at 69 pounds 15 ounces, caught by Art Lawton in the St. Lawrence River. In 1992 this record was found to have been falsified, and was disqualified by the Freshwater Fish Hall of Fame and the IGFA. Replacing it was Louis Spray's 69-pound 11-ounce fish caught on Wisconsin's Chippewa Flowage. The fish in turn was disqualified, and Cal Johnson's fish was recognized as the record. These revisions - and the general taint they have spread over all old-time Muskie records - has prompted some wags to suggest that given enough time, the next world record will in fact turn out to be O'Brien's Georgian Bay fish after all.
According to Dr. John Casselman, a ministry of Natural Resources researcher, the next world record will likely come from one of the seven Ontario waters that have the breeding lines and the environments needed to produce monsters. These are: the St. Lawrence River; Lake of the Woods; Wabigoon Lake; Eagle Lake; Lac Seul; Georgian Bay; and the Ottawa River
New regs make things interesting
(PETERBOROUGH, Ont.) -
Ontario's 2001 fishing regulations are out and they include substantial increases in minimum size limits for muskellunge that would, interestingly enough, have made Martin Williamson's 53.5-inch catch in November a mandatory release.
Last summer the Ministry of Natural Resources proposed a general province-wide increase in size limits, to be applied specifically in a four-tier system, from lower length limits on "number lakes" to high limits on waters with world record potential. In all cases the intended effect was to allow fish a minimum of two spawning seasons before being harvested. After local consultation with public and industry found that the proposals met with general approval, the OMNR has now made a number of changes, and more will come in the future.
Of particular interest to Williamson's situation is the classification of some waters as "record class." When the Muskie season opens this spring, a Muskie caught on Georgian Bay, Lake of the Woods, Eagle, Wabigoon, the Winnipeg River system, and a number of other lakes in northwestern Ontario will have to be at least 54 inches long to be legally kept. A 54-inch minimum is by far the highest in North America.
Only waters that OMNR biologists believe can grow record-size fish have been given the 54-inch limit. Most waters have been denoted either "enhanced size," with limits of 44 or 48 inches, or "high density," with limits of 36 or 40 inches. A fourth designation for waters where the fishery is being introduced or, as with Lac Seul, rehabilitated, allows only catch-and-release angling until such time as biologists feel the population has stabilized.
"It's all coming together," said Ian Smith, Muskies Canada president. "Each region will have a diversity of opportunity for anglers, and in waters with record potential the 54-inch limit will force incidental catches to be released allowing a class of large fish to grow."
Smith said that his organization's priority for the coming year is to try to make headway on getting limits raised on certain eastern Ontario Muskie factories. "the Ottawa, Rideau and Madawaska rivers all have produced some huge fish in the past. I personally think the Ottawa has the best potential for producing a world record."
Minimum size limits on the Ottawa remain unchanged from last year.