Tiz the season for Washington anglers to catch lunker walleyes, loaded with eggs, and owly enough to hit lures as they reach their peak weight of the year.
“This is the time of year I get calls on big walleye,” said Paul Hoffarth, Washington Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist stationed near the trophy waters of the mid Columbia River.
On Saturday, Hoffarth officially measured a 19.14-pound walleye caught in McNary Pool (Lake Wallula) downstream from the confluence of the Snake River by Tri-Cities angler Kit Tripp.
“Beautiful, big female, less than 2-ounces off the state record,” Hoffarth said.
The Washington record is a 19.3-pounder caught Feb. 5, 2005, by Mike Hepper of Richland in roughly the same vicinity.
Tripp’s walleye measured 33.5 inches long by 22.3 inches in girth.
The state record fish was 33.7 inches long by 22.2 inches in girth, said Hoffarth, the official the anglers called to verify both fish.
“Doesn’t get much closer than that!” he said.
Anglers farther up the Columbia also are catching lunker walleye.
Ken Bain of Spokane caught a 14-pound, 7-ounce walleye near Fort Spokane on Saturday. He said his fishing partner had caught a 10-pounder two weeks ago.