Although not the top fish anglers go for, the walleye is still very popular especially in North America and Canada.
Whether you fish in the warmer areas or are into ice fishing, these walleye can be found pretty much the length and breath of both countries. This is what makes them favored with fishermen along with the fact that they can be fished all year round.
Angler Howard Brierly braved snow and ice on the morning of January 12, 1982, as he set out to fish from the shores of Greers Ferry Lake, near his home in Arkansas. Brierly’s resilience and determination were rewarded in the form of the men’s 8-kilogram (16 pound) line class record walleye – a 8.27-kilogram (18 pounds, 4 ounces) fish that has held the record for more than 30 years.
Here are 5 of the biggest walleye recorded:
The heaviest walleye ever recorded with fly tackle was caught by angler Scott Smith on March 26, 1999. Smith, who had been guiding two friends on a steelhead trip all day, was finally able to do some fishing for himself. Not long after he picked up the fly rod, he hooked up to the massive walleye, which he first thought to be a snag. After playing the fish for 10 minutes, Smith was able to land and weigh the 5.44-kilogram (12 pounds) fish before he released it alive.
While fishing from the Missouri shoreline of Bull Shoal Lake on the night of February 8, 1991, angler Pete Gleason
caught one of the biggest walleye ever recorded by the IGFA – a 8.98-kilogram (19 pounds, 13 ounces) beast has held the men’s 4-kilogram (8 pound) line class world record ever since. At about 10 PM, Gleason hooked the fish, which he originally thought was a striped bass, after it hit the live minnow he had on for bait. After about 15 minutes, Gleason and his friends were able to get a glimpse of the fish with their flashlights, and realized it was a huge walleye – not a striper.
Gleason backed off the drag and skillfully played the fish for another 20 minutes before he could finally slide the tired fish onto the bank. The fish was weighed 30 hours later and is estimated to have weighed more than 20 pounds at the time of capture.
Angler Thomas B. Evans had fished Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas for years, successfully targeting the large walleye found throughout the body of water. But on the morning of February 10, 1989, while there was still ice on the water, Evans landed the biggest walleye of his 60 year life – a 9.35-kilogram (20 pounds, 9 ounces) fish that has stood as the men’s 10-kilogram (20 pound) line class record ever since. Evans was trolling a deep running lure in the Devil’s Fork arm of Greers Ferry Lake when the big walleye hit. Despite the massive size of the fish, Evans was not impressed with the fight, which lasted only 5 minutes. The catch not only earned the angler a world record, it also earned him first place in a local tournament.
For more than thirty years, angler Mark Wallace has held the men’s 2-kilogram (4 pound) line class world record for walleye with a 8.27-kilogram (18 pounds, 4 ounces) fish he caught on March 12, 1983 while fishing the North Little Red River in Arkansas – not far from the infamous Greers Ferry Lake. Wallace, who visiting Arkansas from his home in Texas, needed 15 minutes to land the fish after it ate the bait he was fishing. As if catching such a fish on 2-kilogram (4 pound) line wasn’t impressive enough,Wallace was not using a leader when he made the catch!
It is a common misconception that the IGFA does not permit ice fishing. That is not the case. IGFA rules do require the tip section of the rod to be at least 40 inches (which affects many ice fishermen’s tackle), however, there is nothing that prohibits anglers from ice fishing. Angler Scott Ruiter is a perfect example of that. On March 5, 2005, while ice fishing on top of the frozen Muskegun Lake, near his home in Michigan, Ruiter landed a massive 6.91-kilogram (15 pounds, 4 ounces) walleye on just 3-kilogram (6 pound) test –
earning him the record for that line class. Ruiter was using a live minnow for bait, and was targeting perch after his attempts to catch walleye earlier in the day had failed. But when Ruiter set the hook on what he thought was another perch, and felt the strength of the fish on the other end of his line, he knew he had a big walleye. Thirty minutes and a dozen attempts to get the nose of the fish through his ice hole, Ruiter was finally able to land his world record fish.