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DNR confirms Minnesota state catch-and-release record muskellunge caught in June on Mille Lacs Lake

The previous record was a tie for 57.25-inch muskies, which were caught on Lake Vermilion.

A man holds a large muskie.
Eric Bakke of Princeton holds a Minnesota catch-and-release record 58.25-inch muskie caught June 11 on Mille Lacs Lake. <br/>
Contributed / Eric Bakke
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources certified the state catch-and-release record muskie, a 58.25-inch fish caught on Mille Lacs Lake by Eric Bakke of Princeton, the state agency reported Monday, Oct. 31.

A man releases a big fish back into the water.
Eric Bakke releases his record-breaking muskie back into Mille Lacs Lake.
Contributed / Eric Bakke

The previous record was a tie for 57.25-inch muskies, which were caught on Lake Vermilion in 2019 and 2021.

Bakke was fishing on June 11 on Mille Lacs Lake with fishing partner Jon Blood and caught the huge fish while trolling with a footlong muskie lure. After a minute or two of trying to reel in the fish, Blood was able to net it and they measured, photographed and released the fish in less than a minute.

“To be able to target and catch fish of this caliber has been one of the great passions of my life,” Bakke said in a news release from the DNR.

Bakke said he’s been fortunate to be able to learn from and fish with some great anglers, and that joining Muskies Inc. helped him understand the importance of handling and releasing these big fish with care and purpose.

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“In order to catch more and bigger fish you have to put them back: ‘let them go, let them grow,’” Bakke said. “This record should and will be broken in the next year or two if we all make the choice to keep all those big fish alive and swimming for the next person to experience and catch a fish of their lifetime. I’d like to say thank you to all of the people who have caught that fish over the past 20-plus years, took care of her and put her back. She is still out there for all of you to go try to catch again!”

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 state record on the DNR record fish page at mndnr.gov/RecordFish .

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