The world record Muskie is 67 pounds 8 ounces. It was caught by Cal Johnson using Pike Oreno as bait in Lake Court Oreilles, Hayward, Wisconsin, USA.
Lake Court Oreilles featured on the map below is located in central Wisconsin and isn’t particularly known for its huge fish.
It is actually known as a bass lake today and the giant muskie of 67 pounds 8 ounces was caught there but it was way back in July of 1949. So, perhaps that’s why no more record muskie have come out of there.
What Is The Story Behind The World Record Muskie?
World record fish generally have a great story behind them but since this world record and state record was caught in 1949, there isn’t much information about it.
What we do know comes mainly from photos of the angler, Cal Johnson holding the fish. He was fishing with a south bend rod and reel rigged with a 30 lb line and casting a Pike Oreno as bait.
Image Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/
When he hooked the world record, the muskie took an hour to fight, and eventually, he landed the fish by beaching it.
It baffles me to think about fighting a freshwater fish for over an hour. In the sea, it makes sense and I have been in some 6-hour battles out there but have never had a long battle in freshwater.
But, Cal Johnson’s fish is not actually the heaviest muskie caught on rod and line, there were two other world record fish caught that were bigger than Cal johnson’s fish but did not qualify according to the IGFA rule book.
The World Record Muskie That Didn’t Count
For a very long time, Cal Johnson was not the all-tackle world record holder for monster muskie, it was actually held by Art Lawton and was caught in the St. Lawrence River.
The fish weighed an amazing 69 pounds and 15 ounces, the largest muskie ever caught on rod and line, but in 1992 the IGFA and the Freshwater Fish Hall of Fame decided the record muskie was falsified.
The world record then fell to Louie Spray who caught a 69 pounds 11 ounces monster muskie in Chippewa Flowage in Wisconsin way back in October of 1949. But then this rare catch was also disqualified as a world record fish and the all-tackle record went back to Mr. Johnson and that is where it still stands.
It does go to show that a monster muskie is out there since the current biggest monster muskie caught on rod and reel isn’t even the world record.
Muskies are also referred to as muskellunge, great pike, blue pike, musky, Great Lakes muskellunge, and lots more.
These big fish are native to North America and are found in the northeast of the United States all the way from Georgia in the south up to the Great Lakes and into northern Quebec and Ontario in Canada. Muskies have also been introduced into Manitoba.
Fishing for muskie is not easy and catches are rare. They are known as a fish of ten thousand casts for an angler wanting to catch them on a fly rod and it’s not dissimilar with conventional gear either.
They are extremely aware of a hook so and will happily spot a baited walleye, lure, and anything else that doesn’t look quite right.
Muskie is an ambush predator that lives around cover and like shallow rivers and lakes with a lot of vegetation. Slow-moving water is also preferred by muskies so they don’t have to expend too much energy.
It was thought that there were 4 species of muskie but there is actually just one with a Latin name of Esox masquinongy. The only exception is the tiger musky which is a cross of a northern pike and muskie.
Where Have Other World Record Muskies Been Caught?
Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, USA
Lake Mille Lacs is home to a world record muskie that still hasn’t been caught so you should head to Minnesota if you are in search of a record.
Keith Wiggins-Kegg, a biologist at Mille Lacs lake was doing a natural resources study on Mille lacs using electrofishing. He was checking up on the fish stocks when he and his friends saw a giant muskie swimming on the surface.
Keith then grabbed the muskie but didn’t have a large enough scale to weigh it and instead took records of the length and girth. This muskie was a length of 61.5 inches beating the length of the current world record of 60.24 inches and the state record too.
During the release of the fish, it swam away very happily back into the lake. Using the length and girth measurements, it is estimated that this fish weighed between 55 and 75 pounds, so there is possibly a new world record waiting for anglers to catch in Mille Lacs.
The line class world record for 6 lb line is also held in Lake Mille Lacs. It weighed 44 lb 11 oz and was caught by Ken Hunt in July of 2003.
St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
A muskie fishing spot that is known for its big fish is the St Lawrence River of Quebec. Both of the all-tackle length world records were caught in this river and they measured in at 132 cm and 133 cm, about 52.3 inches.
The 132 cm fish was caught by Mark E. Carlson, M.D. on 04-Dec-2013, and the 133cm fish was caught by Mike Stolte on 04-Sep-2016.
If you want to catch a record muskie, the St Lawrence River is a great place to start.
Tygart River, West Virginia, USA
The biggest muskie caught on a fly rod was landed in the Tygart River in West Virginia. The fish weighed an amazing 29 pounds and was landed by John R. Jeziorowhile fly fishing with 12 lb class tippet.
Fishing for muskie is hard, and fly fishing for muskie is even harder. You have to have a lot of hope, keep casting all day long, and work as a team with anyone who is fishing with you.