Nighttime catch of giant muskie breaks 64-year-old record

A Minnesota angler has broken a 64-year-old state record with the nighttime catch of a nearly 56-pound muskie.

“The rumors are true!” Nolan Sprengeler wrote on Facebook after his Nov. 22 catch of a 55-pound, 14.8-ounce muskellunge in icy water at Mille Lacs Lake.

The previous record, 54 pounds, was set at Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957.

Sprengeler, 27, of Minnetonka, submitted his record application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Nov. 23. On Tuesday, the DNR announced that it had certified Sprengeler’s catch as a record.

Sprengeler, pictured below at left, was fishing with Kevin Kray and Zack Skoglund. The anglers had to break ice during their dusk launch of Sprengeler’s boat to access deeper, open water.

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“On our last spot of the evening at about 9 p.m., I felt a tap on the end of my line. I fought the fish to the boat and Kevin Kray netted it for me,” Sprengeler told the DNR. “After trying to revive the fish for about an hour we realized she wasn’t going to make it. We made the decision to bring the fish in to get weighed on a certified scale.”

Sprengeler had the muskie weighed the next morning on a certified scale. He then brought the fish to a DNR Fisheries office for identification purposes.

The air temperature was 18 degrees as the anglers ventured across the ice-filled marina.

Sprengeler had been pursuing the catch-and-release record (57-1/4 inches), but the muskie he landed, “after a quick battle and a few ridiculous head shakes,” was deep-hooked and not responsive during the release attempt.

For the sake of comparison, the International Game Fish Association lists as the all-tackle world record a 67-pound, 8-ounce muskie caught at Wisconsin’s Lake Court Oreilles in 1949.

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