MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man rushing to sneak in a final fishing expedition before the freeze on one of the state's largest lakes appears to have broken a 64-year-old state record.
Nolan Sprengeler, of Plymouth, landed a muskie on Lake Mille Lacs Monday night that tipped the scales at 55 pounds, 14.8 ounces. The previous Minnesota record for heaviest muskie, 54 pounds, was set in 1957 on Lake Winnibigoshish.
Sprengeler and two other friends had to break ice for about 100 yards to find open water.
"We had thought about fishing after Thanksgiving, but looking at the temperatures we figured we better go Monday night," Sprengeler said. "We weren't sure we could get on the lake after that."
Sprengeler, 27, hooked the fish while casting a large soft-plastic bait to a rock reef. He said the three of them worked for an hour to try to revive the fish, but to no avail.
Instead, he eventually drove to a renowned taxidermy in Conover, Wisconsin, where owner Rick Lax agreed to make a traditional skin mount for the fish and create a mold from it so replicas can be reproduced in a method that Lax's father helped pioneer.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say all the required paperwork, including witnesses and notarized signatures, seems to be in order.
The official world record recognized by most organizations is Louis Spray's 69-pound, 11-ounce muskie that was caught in 1949 on the Chippewa Flowage in northwestern Wisconsin.