Today's trophy tale: A keeper to release

  • Updated: July 17, 2012 - 9:27 PM
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T.J. Isberg, 9, Minneapolis; 28-inch walleye on Leech Lake

(As told by dad, Tom Isberg)

"This was TJ's first time walleye fishing on a big lake. The day started slow, and TJ was thrilled to catch his first walleye [an 18-incher]. Later, he was all smiles, catching four more, ranging from 18 to 22 inches, while the guide and I were skunked. Finally, I landed a nice 24-inch walleye. TJ was happy for me, but a bit disappointed he no longer had the biggest fish. Then about 15 minutes later, his pole bent in half, and he reeled in this beautiful 28-incher. We explained that it was big enough to keep, but TJ thought it was such a beautiful fish, we should release it."

FIRST MUSKIE Jackson Utermarck, 9, of Fairmont, Minn., caught and released this 44-inch muskie -- his first -- on Lake Vermilion. "When it [hit], we had to hang on to Jackson as he was almost pulled in," reported his dad, Jim. "He was so excited he was still shaking 30 minutes later."

FIRST CRAPPIE Bryn Bartus, 3, of Rogers, was all smiles after catching her first crappie on Sturgeon Lake just north of Hibbing. Dad Matt Bartus didn't mind that it wasn't a trophy catch.

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  • FIRST MUSKIE Jackson Utermarck, 9, of Fairmont, Minn., caught and rel...

  • Matt and Bryn Bartus

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