“My heart was going crazy; I knew it was a monster,” Nik Biebighauser said.
“You could see the fish coming up on our [electronic] graph — it looked like I was pulling up a log. It was incredible.”
But it was no deadhead.
It was a monstrous 45-pound lake trout that he and his dad, Dave, pulled up from the depths of Lake Superior near Isle Royale last week.
“It’s a fish of a lifetime; my hand was just shaking for an hour afterward,” said Biebighauser, 24, of Minneapolis. “Holding a fish like that … it’s crazy. She’s the biggest fish I’ve ever seen.”
Biebighauser and his dad, 60, of Tonka Bay, were on a weeklong trip together to Isle Royale, camping on the national park and fishing for trout from their 25-foot boat. They were trolling spoons in 110-feet of water — and thinking about calling it a day — when the big fish hit.
He fought the fish for about a half-hour.
“It was dead weight until we got it to the top of the water,” Biebighauser said. “I got it to the side of the boat maybe five or six times, but it was too big for our net and then it would take another 100 feet of line back out.”
Dave Biebighauser finally managed to get the fish’s head in the net, “but he couldn’t pull it over the side of the boat, so I threw the rod down and grabbed the net and helped pull it into the boat,” Nik said. “We were star-struck when we finally got it in.”
They measured it at 47 inches and estimated the weight at 45 pounds. They released it and plan to have a replica made.
It’s the biggest fish son and dad have ever caught. They are longtime Lake Superior anglers, fishing both at Isle Royale and at the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.
“This is the big-time fish — the one we’ve been looking for,” Nik said.
They caught other trout on the trip, but most were less than 24 inches.
So how big is a 45-pound lake trout? The Minnesota record lake trout is a 43-pound, 8-ounce fish caught near Hovland in 1955. (Length and girth are unknown.)
Isle Royale, though just 18 miles off Minnesota’s North Shore, is in Michigan waters. The Michigan state record lake trout is a 49-inch, 61½-pound behemoth caught in Lake Superior in 1997.
Doug Smith • 612-673-7667