Anglers appreciate and love walleye for a variety of well-founded reasons. Many find this fish to be difficult to capture, and it can get incredibly big. It’s also supposed to be a great catch, which makes it a visually stunning and delectable feast. So what was the biggest walleye ever captured anywhere in the world? What do you need to know about this amazing record that was once very controversial? Discover all there is to know about walleyes, their maximum size, and the current world record for all-tackle fishing by reading on.
Get to Know the Walleye: Background and Fun Facts
Although most fishermen just refer to it as walleye, Sander vitreus is also known by several other popular names, depending on where you live: yellow pike, yellow pickerel, and yellow pikeperch. Interestingly, it is also occasionally called the yellow walleye specifically. This is to set it apart from a specific color variation of the species that was formerly found in the waters off eastern Canada but is most likely extinct.
However, the species’ shimmering, iridescent eyes are the source of the fish’s most common moniker. The tapetum lucidum, a thin layer of tissue in the eyes, is to blame for this. This greatly improves the animal’s ability to see at night by reflecting light. Given that the fish is primarily nocturnal and typically feeds in choppy, turbulent waters, this adaption is beneficial.
The walleye’s distinctive flashing eyes are not the only thing that identify it; its primary colors are olive green and golden. On the belly, this gradient-like design fades to an off-white hue. Large, dark brown saddle-like patterns typically run along the back, breaking up the general color of the animal. In addition to having enormous mouths relative to their size, walleyes also have 30 to 40 extremely sharp teeth.
The walleye is Originally from the Upper Midwest, it likes chilly water. It is, nevertheless, present at different depths. Interestingly, this species is the official fish of Minnesota. Owing to its remarkable vision, it frequently ventures into more turbulent and deeper waters in order to gain a considerable advantage over its prey. Many fishers refer to this deep, choppy water fondly as “walleye chop.”
How Big Can Walleye Get?
As previously said, walleye’s extraordinary size is one of the key factors that make them so desirable to fisherman. When fully grown, they reach a length of about 30 inches on average. Specimens often measure longer than this, though. They usually reach a weight of about 20 pounds when they reach adulthood. Similar to their average length, however, this measurement varies from person to person and is typically greater than 25 pounds.
Notably, walleye often mate between the ages of three and four when they attain sexual maturity. Throughout their first several years of existence, they grow incredibly swiftly. However, it’s common for them to keep growing well into adulthood. Actually, a lot of people don’t grow to their maximum size until they are nearly ten years old! In fact, they have a few decades to life; the oldest example known to science lived to be 29 years old.
It’s interesting to note that walleye in Canada typically reach bigger sizes than in the US, with specimens typically growing larger the further north they live. This is probably because the US fishes for this species more than it does in the colder, more isolated areas of northern Canada. Furthermore, walleye in the United States often have shorter lives because most are harvested before they turn five or six years old.
What is the Largest Walleye Ever Caught?
A complex history surrounds the record for the largest walleye ever caught. August 2, 1960, is the date of the all-tackle world record, according to the International Game Fish Association. The amazing 25-pound fish was captured at Old Hickory Lake in central Tennessee by an angler named Mabry Harper. The lake in question is located about 25 miles north of Nashville along the Cumberland River.
Curiously, though, a lot of anglers have questioned the record; in fact, the IGFA briefly revoked the title in order to look into it more. The catch was scrutinized thoroughly, including the original images of the capture at the time, and ultimately the IGFA decided to restore the title. A few fishermen recommended the fish Others commented that it was strange that Mabry didn’t mount his catch, stating it couldn’t have weighed more than 12 pounds.
However, the IGFA determined that the fish’s size was accurate following a thorough study. Together with a few more pictures of the catch, they were able to ascertain that the fish was, in fact, a massive 25 pounds and 41 inches long thanks to recently found and filed evidence. Similar to how many fishermen at the time caught fish primarily for food rather than just for sport, Mabry probably didn’t mount the catch because he ate it.
All in all, despite the initial and ongoing debate surrounding it, the world’s largest walleye is still an incredible capture.