What Is The World Record Muskie?

muskie world record

Fly Fisher Pro is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

The world record Muskie tips the scales at an astounding 67 pounds 8 ounces. This behemoth was reeled in by Cal Johnson, who used a Pike Oreno as bait. The location? Lake Court Oreilles, Hayward, Wisconsin, USA.

Interestingly, Lake Court Oreilles, pinpointed on the map below, is nestled in the heart of Wisconsin. While it’s not particularly famed for its large fish population, it has earned a reputation as a bass lake in recent years.

The record-breaking muskie was caught way back in July 1949. Perhaps this explains why no recent records have been set there.

The Tale of the World Record Muskie

World record fish usually boast a captivating backstory, and the world record muskie is no exception. However, since this record was set in 1949, not much information is available about it.

The details that are known are largely derived from photos of the angler, Cal Johnson, proudly displaying his catch. He was fishing with a south bend rod and reel, outfitted with a 30 lb line, and casting a Pike Oreno as bait.

Story Behind The World Record Muskie
Image Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/

Hooking the record-setting muskie led to a battle that lasted more than an hour. Eventually, Johnson managed to land the fish by beaching it. It’s somewhat mind-boggling to consider fighting a freshwater fish for over an hour! While lengthy battles are common in saltwater fishing, they are far from typical in freshwater environments.

However, it’s important to note that Cal Johnson’s fish isn’t the heaviest muskie caught on a rod and line. There were two other catches that were larger than Johnson’s fish, but they didn’t meet the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rule book’s criteria.

The World Record Muskie That Didn’t Make the Cut

For a long period, Cal Johnson was not the all-tackle world record holder for the largest muskie. This title was held by Art Lawton, who landed his catch in the St. Lawrence River.

Lawton’s fish weighed an incredible 69 pounds and 15 ounces, making it the largest muskie ever caught on a rod and line. However, in 1992, the IGFA and the Freshwater Fish Hall of Fame determined t hat the record muskie’s weight had been exaggerated, and it was disqualified.

The world record then reverted to Louie Spray, who caught a 69 pounds 11 ounces monster muskie in Chippewa Flowage in Wisconsin in October 1949. However, this impressive catch was also disqualified as a world record fish, and the all-tackle record was returned to Mr. Johnson, where it remains to this day.

This saga serves as a stark reminder that a monster muskie is lurking out there somewhere. Moreover, the current largest monster muskie caught on a rod and reel isn’t even the world record holder.

For more information and tips on fly fishing in Wisconsin, check out our post here. It provides a comprehensive guide on the best fly fishing destinations in the state.

about muskies

About Muskies

Commonly known as muskellunge, great pike, blue pike, musky, and Great Lakes muskellunge, these large fish are native to North America. They can be found in the northeastern United States, from Georgia in the south, all the way to the Great Lakes and into northern Quebec and Ontario in Canada. Muskies have also been introduced into Manitoba.

Fishing for muskie is a challenging task, and catches are few and far between. They are known as the “fish of ten thousand casts” for fly rod anglers, and this sentiment holds true for those using conventional gear as well.

Muskies are highly aware of hooks and will often spot a baited walleye, lure, or any other object that seems out of place. They are ambush predators that prefer to stay around cover and favor shallow rivers and lakes with plenty of vegetation. Muskies also prefer slow-moving water, which allows them to conserve energy.

Historically, it was believed that there were four species of muskie. However, recent research has shown that there is only one species, scientifically known as Esox masquinongy. The only exception is the tiger musky, which is a cross between a northern pike and a 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 remains elusive. If you’re on the hunt for a record-breaking catch, you might want to consider venturing to Minnesota.

Keith Wiggins-Kegg, a biologist at Mille Lacs lake, was conducting a natural resources study on Mille Lacs using electrofishing. During the study, he and his team spotted a giant muskie swimming near the surface.

Keith managed to capture the muskie but didn’t have a large enough scale to weigh it. Instead, he recorded the length and girth of the fish, which measured an impressive 61.5 inches in length. This measurement beats the current world record of 60.24 inches and the state record.

Upon releasing the fish, it swam away briskly back into the lake. Based on the length and girth measurements, it is estimated that this fish weighed between 55 and 75 pounds. Therefore, it’s possible that a new world record is waiting to be set in Mille Lacs.

The line class world record for 6 lb line is also held in Lake Mille Lacs. The fish weighed 44 lb 11 oz and was caught by Ken Hunt in July 2003.

For a comprehensive guide on fly fishing in Minnesota, check out our post here, which provides details on the best fly fishing destinations in the state.

St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada

The St Lawrence River in Quebec is a renowned muskie fishing spot known for its large fish population. Both of the all-tackle length world records were caught in this river, measuring 132 cm and 133 cm, approximately 52.3 inches.

The 132 cm fish was caught by Mark E. Carlson, M.D., on December 4, 2013, and the 133 cm fish was caught by Mike Stolte on September 4, 2016.

If you’re aiming to catch a record-breaking muskie, the St Lawrence River is an excellent starting point.

tygart river west virginia

Tygart River, West Virginia, USA

The largest muskie caught on a fly rod was landed in the Tygart River in West Virginia. The fish weighed a remarkable 29 pounds and was caught by John R. Jeziorowhile fly fishing with a 12 lb class tippet.

Fishing for muskie is a challenging task, and fly fishing for muskie takes it up a notch. It requires patience, constant casting throughout the day, and teamwork with anyone else who is fishing with you. So, why not consider fly fishing in West Virginia?


Who caught the world’s largest muskie?

The world’s largest muskie was caught by Cal Johnson in 1949 in the Chippewa Flowage near Hayward, Wisconsin. The fish was 69 inches long and weighed 68 lbs, 8 oz.

Where is the world’s largest muskie?

The world’s largest muskie is now on display at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.

What state has the most muskie?

The state with the most muskie is Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin has the most muskie of any state in the United States, with over 300,000 muskie in its waters.

Where is the best muskie fishing in the world?

The best muskie fishing in the world is widely considered to be in Canada’s Province of Ontario. The lakes of Ontario are home to some of the world’s largest muskie, with some reaching lengths of over 50 inches.

What is the best muskie bait?

The best muskie bait will depend on the size, location, and time of year. Popular baits for muskie include crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and live bait such as minnows and frogs.

See the IGFA Record here.


The world record muskie is a testament to the thrill and challenges of fly fishing. This sport offers an opportunity to connect with nature and experience the exhilaration of reeling in a monster catch. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the world of fly fishing is full of adventures and unforgettable experiences.

Are you ready to dive into the world of fly fishing? Download our series of fly fishing books below to learn more about this exciting sport.

Save Up To 50% At Trident Fly Fishing

We’ve partnered with Trident Fly Fishing to get you EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS on a huge selection of fly fishing gear. I highly recommend checking out their USED GEAR SECTION to save a ton on a premium rod and reel.

Trident Fly Fishing Deal

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top