Trophy Tales

A weekly look at anglers and their memorable catches. 


Tino Lettieri was fishing July 6 with friend (and TV anchor) Frank Vascellaro when Lettieri brought up two bass on his lure from Balsam Lake in Wisconsin. Said Vascellaro, who shot photos: "I’ve never seen that in my lifetime and guess I never will again."
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Nancy Weidenfeller of Minnetonka was fishing on Lake St. Joseph in northern Ontario where barbless hooks are required when she landed her personal best walleye. She caught this 27-incher on a fishing jig head hook and minnow.
Cole Holdgrafer, 14, of Minneapolis landed this 38-inch northern pike while fishing Lake Harriet. He had a minnow on a circle hook, with a leader on braided line. It took about five minutes to get in the pike.
Mike Scarborough of Alexandria caught this 29-inch walleye in Dogtooth Lake near Kenora, Ontario.
Jesse Bissen of Minneapolis caught a monster muskie June 13 in his first outing in pursuit of the species. "It was the thrill of a lifetime to land a Master Angler fish! I caught it using a beaver lure and bait caster with the help of a young fishing guide, Tanner Talbot. It was a very quick fight. Hooked her no more than 10 feet from the boat and she was in within 30 seconds. It was amazing to catch the beast right on Lake Minnetonka. Measurements: 51 3/4 inches; 21-inch girth; roughly 35 to 40 pounds. For this kind of fish to be known as the "fish of 1,000 casts," I sure felt great to get it on my fourth!" The muskie was released.
Maddox Pheneger, 7, left, reeled in this 39-inch flathead catfish on Pool No. 3 of the Mississippi River in Hastings.
Mason Davis of Redwood Falls caught this 20-inch bass in the Spicer area.
Owen Dahlin, 11, of Deephaven caught this bass off the dock on Lake Minnetonka. He was using a Ned rig.
Beth, left, and her sister Katie Hansen were fishing in Alexandria on the opener when Beth hooked in to this tank. The fish wanted nothing to do with the net and put up quite an exciting fight. After a few photos and a measurement, it was released.
Delaine Nelson caught this 14-inch brown during her first trout fishing trip to the Driftless Region of southeastern Minnesota. It involved Women Anglers of Minnesota. "We were just casting for them with lures," she wrote. "I was hooked! I went out and bought all my own fishing necessities."
Elizabeth Marsh of Mora, Minn., with a white bass she caught on the Mississippi River near La Crescent, Minn., during a "border battle" between two fishing groups: Women Anglers of Minnesota and Wisconsin Women Fish. Said Marsh of her encouraging outing with others: "Events with Women Anglers of Minnesota like the border battle encourage women anglers of any level to participate in the sport of fishing. Even though Minnesota did not take home the trophy at the end of the day, there were so many fun fish stories, friendships made. and a few fish tales created that will be remembered for many years."
Laura Burgstaler of Lakeville caught this dandy 33-inch walleye on a minnow while fishing the Mississippi River near Red Wing.
Cheryl Ruffalo of Rochester was fishing with her husband, Dave, on May 11 on Lake Pepin, using a crawler and bottom bouncer. "We were headed back toward the marina when this one hit and I knew right away that it was bigger than anything else I had caught that day. 22 inches, a new personal best sauger for me! Quick pic and released. Big fish on a beautiful day!"
Owen Aune of Cologne, Minn., caught this nice bass May 11 on North Turtle Lake in Otter Tail County. He was using a bottom bouncer and night crawler for walleyes and thought he had caught a big walleye, wrote Eric Aune. "It fought hard, but he got it in, took a quick picture and released it. Owen loves to fish."
Katie Corgiat of Victoria, Minn., was throwing crankbaits on the rocky shoreline of the Mississippi River near La Crescent when this monster bowfin attacked! I" fought it for over five minutes, and it is the largest one I’ve ever caught," she said. Corgiat released the prize.
John Carroll of Eden Prairie caught this 6-pound walleye on Lake Winnibigoshish on the state fishing opener May 11. The fish was 26 inches (the lake's slot is 18 to 23 inches, with one allowed more than 23 inches.) The fish was released.
Max Rappaport of New Hope, Minn., was on a father-and-son trip with a group of hockey teammates to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness when he caught this 32 1/2-inch walleye on Seagull Lake. He was using a crawler harness while canoe fishing. It took about 10 minutes to bring this giant in and after a few photos and a measurement, it was released.
Cohen Prehall, 9, of Shorewood had a big moment on his first father-son fishing trip up north with his father, Sam. Cohen cast his favorite Whopper Plopper and caught his personal-best northern pike (33 inches). It hit right next to the boat, according to his dad. “The fight lasted a couple of minutes and after landing the fish and taking a very proud picture, we let the fish go to fight another day!”
Beckett Anderson, 14, of Omaha, Neb., caught a 24-inch walleye while fishing with his dad, Ethan, on Lake Pokegama. It was his first walleye and came about 90 minutes after catching a 19-inch largemouth bass.
Max Richards, 6, of Apple Valley caught this 19-1/2” smallmouth bass on a jig and a worm on Lac Courte Oreilles, near Hayward, Wis. He was using an ultralite rod and reel. Max had no help in fighting the fish and bringing it to the net, which took about five minutes.