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Would you criticize an angler for keeping a record-setting walleye?

FISHING — Some people are criticizing John Grubenhoff of Pasco for not releasing the 20.32-pound Washington state record walleye he caught Friday in the Columbia River.

Experts say he did the right thing, without even getting around to the argument that walleye are a non-native species.

It’s official: 20.32-pound walleye is Washington record

FISHING — The whopper walleye caught in the Columbia River on Friday — see today's story —  has been officially declared a state record by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Following is the official announcement, just posted:

New State Fishing Record:  Walleye (Sander vitrius)

Caught by John Grubenhoff of Pasco, WA, in Lake Wallula (Columbia River), Benton County, on Feb. 28, 2014

Weight:            20.32 lbs

Total Length: 35.50 inches (90 cm)

Girth:                22.75 inches (57.5 cm)

Fishing method/gear: Trolling in 22 feet of water upstream along a current break at 0.8 mph and using a Rapala® J-13 lure 6 feet behind a 2 oz. “bottom walker” weight. 

Conditions: Sunny, but with a cold front coming in the next day. Water temperature: 37.2 degrees; air temperature: upper 40s.

Species description:  Walleye are extremely popular sport fish everywhere they occur, and are known for their exquisite flavor. They are native to the Midwest United States and were first identified in Washington about 1960 in Banks Lake. They have since spread throughout the Columbia Basin and the Columbia River from Lake Roosevelt, downstream to near Longview. Washington is known nationwide for its walleye fishing.

Previous record: Taken Feb. 5, 2007 in Lake Wallula (Columbia River) by Mike Hepper of Richland, WA

Weight:            19.3 lbs

Total Length:   33.7 inches

Girth:                22.2 inches

Pasco angler catches 20-pound Washington record walleye in Columbia

UPDATE March 5, 2014, 3:15 p.m.:  It's official! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has just confirmed Grubenhoff's walleye as a state record.

FISHING — A walleye weighing 20.32 pounds caught in the Columbia River on Friday is a pending Washington record.

John Grubenhoff, 57, of Pasco was fishing in the McNary Pool near the Tri Cities when he caught the egg-heavy female measuring 35 1/2 inches long and 22 3/4 inches in girth.

A state biologist witnessed the weighing on a certified scale on Friday. State biologist Paul Hoffarth measured the fish on Saturday and said he doesn't foresee and issues that would prevent the record from being confirmed.

Grubenhoff's walleye would top the current record of 19.3 pounds caught by Tri-Cities angler Mike Hepper in February 2007.

Oregon's record, also from the Columbia, is 19 pounds, 15 ounces caught in 1990.

The world record listed by the International Game Fish Association is 25 pounds caught in Old Hickory Lake, Tenn., in 1960.

Grubenhoff, who's pursued walleyes for 29 years, said he rushed home from his job at Sandvik Special Metals on Friday afternoon to get in some fishing before dark. Winter is prime time for catching trophy walleyes while the hens are still full of eggs.

“A cold front was forecast to come in that evening so I figured that fishing would be good,” he said, noting the water temperature was 37.2 degrees. “Boy was it. My first fish came within about 10 minutes, a nice hen around 14 pounds. I released her as usual and went back at it.”

Within 10 minutes, he caught and released a 6-pound male. He said he hooked the record fish about a half hour later “fishing a current break adjacent to a windswept, rocky shoreline in about 22 feet of water.”

He was trolling upstream at about 0.8 mph with a Rapala J-13 – a 6-inch-long minnow lure in silver and black – about 6 feet behind a 2-ounce bottom walker.

“The largest walleye I've caught up until now was around 18 pounds,” he said. “She was released after a few photos.”

But he said he knew Friday’s fish was a possible record and took it - almost - immediately to be weighed on a certified scale.

“I have been tournament fishing for about 25 years, mostly with my son Jacob, who is my best buddy,” he said. “We've won nine tournaments and placed in the money dozens of times.”

Ranch & Home, a Tri-Cities sporting goods store, has offered to pay for the taxidermist and a reproduction to display in the store, he said.

Pasco angler catches 20-pound state record walleye in Columbia

4 p.m. — See updated post and photo here.

FISHING — A Columbia River walleye weighing 20.32 pounds was caught in the Columbia River on Friday and is likely to be confirmed as a Washington record, state Fish and Wildlife Department biologists say

John Grubenhoff of Pasco was fishing in the McNary Pool near the Tri-Cities when caught the fish measuring 35 1/2 inches long and 22 3/4 inches in girth. 

A state biologist witnessed the weighing on a certified scale on Friday. Paul Hoffarth, area district biologist, measured the fish on Saturday and said he doesn't forsee and issues that would prevent the record from being confirmed.

Grubenhoff's walleye would top the current record of 19.3 pounds caught by Mike Hepper in February 2007.

Winter is prime time to catch record walleyes while the females are heavy with eggs.

Oregon's walleye record is 19 pounds, 15 ounces caught in 1990.

The world record listed by the International Game Fish Association is 25 pounds caught in Old Hickory Lake, Tenn., in 1960.

Record bullhead confirmed from Potholes Reservoir

FISHING — The number of record-setting fish caught in Washington during 2013 just increased last week as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed a new bullhead record.

Yellow bullhead, 2.06 pounds, measuring 14.5 inches long and 10 inches in girth, caught  Sept. 8, 2013, by Monica Beckley of Roy, Wash., in Potholes Reservoir.

Four men needed to land record sunfish in Puget Sound

FISHING — Sunfish, the midgets of inland lake fisheries, have won new stature in the saltwater of Washington's Puget Sound.

A mola weighing up to 350 pounds was caught within view of the Seattle skyline on Tuesday night. It took four men to pull the fish aboard a tribal gillnetting boat.

Click “continue reading” for the who, what and why story about this giant sunfish by Mark Yuasa of The Seattle Times.

Ilwaco-caught dorado possible Washington record

FISHING — Normally associated with warmer Pacific waters such as near Baja California, dorado are a rare catch in the Pacific Northwest — so rare, none has been registered as a record sportfish catch in Washington.

That may change today.

Albert DaSilva of Kelso caught this 16-pound dorado while fishing for tuna 35 miles out of Ilwaco on Thursday.  

It was caught on a purple/black clone while trolling.  

See a video of the action as the angler made the catch.

Record rockfish was 64 years old, not 200, tests show

Update: Tests later indicated the fish was 64 years old, according to an Alaska Fish and Game report..

FISHING — The record-breaking rockfish that caught national attention last week after biologists esitmated it was more than 200 years old has been proved to be a youngster.

Henry Liebman of Seattle caught a 39.08 pound shortraker rockfish while fishing with Angling Unlimited out of Sitka on June 21, 2013, breaking the Alaska state record of 38.68 pounds caught in 2001. Alaska Fish and Game Department biologists officially aged the fish at 64 years old.

  • Initial reports of the fish's age were estimates based on observations.
  • The official report was issued Friday after scientists in Juneau studied the otolith, the fish's equivalent of ear bones.

“It's impossible to age a rockfish once it has matured just by looking at it,” said Kristen Green, groundfish project leader for Alaska's southeast region.

The oldest aged rockfish, a rougheye, was 205 years old and measured 32 inches.  Liebman's fish measured 41 inches, which encouraged unsubstantiated claims of a 200-year-old fish.  

Shortrakers mature by age 10 and reach their peak size shortly after. 

Liebman, who'd caught a huge shortraker in a prvious visit with Angling Unlimited, asked his skipper to help him and his party target big rockfish again.  They were fishing in 850 feet of water when he hooked the record fish.

The fish was weighed at 45 pounds on the boat, so Captain David Goss, knowing the fish would lose weight every hour out of the water, raced back to get the fish officially weighed by Fish and Game officials.

Follow the process of the fish going through the official channels to be named a state record.

Record rockfish, 200 years old, caught in Alaska

FISHING — A Seattle man fishing in Alaska caught a 40-pound shortraker rockfish that experts believe could be 200 years old, which would easily predate the Alaska Purchase in 1867.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reported that Henry Liebman was deep-sea fishing off the coast of Alaska on June 21 when he hooked the record-setting shortraker from a depth of approximately 900 feet.

Shortrakers, which have hues of orange, pink or red on top of their white bodies, are one of the most commonly sought fish in Alaska and can live at depths of more than 2,500 feet.

Troy Tidingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, said the fish is still being analyzed but he believes it is at least 200 years old. The current record is 175 years. Researchers are able to determine the age of a shortraker by the number of growth rings along its ear bone.

Record mackinaw handled like a baby

FISHING — Getting a record fish weighed and verified isn't as easy as one might think.  Certified scales are rare. Fish quickly begin loosing ounces after they are killed. 

Phil Coylar of Wenatchee got some great advice as he came to the dock at Lake Chelan with a mackinaw he knew was a state-record candidate on Monday: Head for the local hospital, a fishing guide told him.

Luckily the hospital staff was as excited about his fish as he was.

Click continue reading for the story from the Wenatchee World.

Pending state record mackinaw landed at Lake Chelan

FISHING — A 35-pound, 10-ounce pending state record lake trout was caught Monday in Lake Chelan by Phil Colyar of Wenatchee, according to a report on Northwestern Outdoors Radio.

The current official state record mackinaw also was caught in Lake Chelan — a 35-pound, 7-ounce fish caught in 2001.

Colyar, a Spokane native, told The Spokesman-Review this morning that he cut his teeth on fishing at Spokane County lakes before moving to an angler's paradise, where he takes full advantage of the upper Columbia salmon and steelhead runs and Lake Chelan's underrated lake trout fishery.

Fast facts:

The fish: 35 pound, 10 ounce lake trout (or Mackinaw).
Tale of the tape: 44.5 inches long, 28-inch girth.
The angler: Phil Colyar, 56, of Wenatchee. Colyar moved to Wenatchee in 1983 from his native Spokane, where he was graduated from Shadle Park High School. (His wife, Carrie, was a graduate of Mead High School.) The Colyars own a jewelry store in Wenatchee.
Date Caught / Location: Feb. 4, 2013 at Lake Chelan, near the Yacht Club.
Tactics: Trolling a newly bought U20 MPPT (Purple and Pink) Flatfish. Depth: 270 feet.
Other Gear: Lamiglas 8 1/2 foot rod, Abu Garcia Level Wind Reel, Maxima 18-pound line.

Lunker perch matches 36-year Idaho record

FISHING — An Idaho record yellow perch measuring 16 inches long and weighing 2.6 pounds was caught Feb. 11 in Lake Cascade by Bob Shindelar of Meridian, Idaho, to tie an Idaho record unmatched since 1976.

One angler described the lunker perch as “a smallmouth bass in drag.”

Dale Allen, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager, said Cascade has produced several perch longer than 15 inches.

The largest perch tend to be females, which are currently producing eggs that add weight. There's still about a month to six weeks before those fish spawn, Allen said.

Read on for the full story from Roger Phillips, outdoor writer for the Idaho Statesman.

Pending brown bullhead record nixed: fish IDed as channel cat

FISHING — Nice try. Even Washington fish biologists couldn't tell just by looking. But they were skeptical, so they did some tests….

The photo above shows a fish submitted as a potential Washington state record brown bullhead after being caught this fall from Lacamas Lake in Clark County.

The fish was unofficialy weighed at 28.1 pounds, said Joe Hymer, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist in Vancouver.

But today Hymer reported: “Upon further review…..genetic sampling determined this fish to be a channel catfish.   While a nice size fish, the state record channel catfish weighed 36.20 pounds, caught by Ross Kincaid in I-82 Pond #6 of Yakima County on Sept,. 6, 1999.”

The current state record bullhead is 11.04 pounds caught in an unnamed lake in Snohomish County in 2000.  Typical size bullheads would be a mere appetizer for this lunker.

Photo of Pocatello angler with Idaho record walleye

FISHING Walleye, — It's official!  The Idaho Fish and Game Department has confirmed a state record walleye was caught Saturday in Oakley Reservoir by Damon Rush of Pocatello. 

The fish weighted 17 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 34.5 inches long and 21.875 inches in girth.

The fish reportedly hit a Rapala fished on 14-pound test line in the reservoir southeast of Twin Falls. In outweighed the previous record — also caught in Oakley — by 2 ounces.

Record Idaho trout was hybrid

FISHING — A product of cross-breeding turned out to be a big deal for a Pocatello angler.

The record-breaking trout Mark Adams caught on July 25 in American Falls Reservoir turns out to be a rainbow-cutthroat hybrid, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials just announced.

Agency biologists completed genetic and age analysis on the fish concluding it's the product of a female cutthroat trout mating with a male rainbow.

The 6-year-old fish weighed 34.75 pounds, and measured 41 1/8 inches long with a girth of 27 1/8 inches. It was caught on a 10-pound test line with a jig.