Trophy Tales

A weekly look at anglers and their memorable catches.
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!"
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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.
Adele Anderson, 5, of St. Paul caught a nice sunfish off the dock on Little McDonald Lake near Perham, Minn. She is shown with her mom, Julia.
Braxton Geerdes of Mankato was fishing with shad raps in his grandfather’s boat when he caught this 23-inch northern on Lake Winnibigoshish.
Liam Dahlman of Victoria, Minn., caught this 11.5-inch bluegill with a spinner bait. He was trolling for northerns on Rush Lake in the Whitefish Chain.
Dwight Carlson, 91, of Battle Lake, Minn., caught this 18-pound, 36-inch catfish. He was bobber-fishing with minnows for northern below the Phelps Mill Dam on the Otter Tail River. He was out with his son, Steve. Steve Carlson’s reports that at first they thought they had a northern on, but after several runs of 50 to 70 yards they realized it likely wasn’t a pike. “After about 15 minutes, and with tired arms, my dad finally got the catfish close enough to shore to net. The park ranger said he had never seen a catfish caught at this spot.”
On July 28, Keegan Brown, left, of Glendale, Mo., caught a 29-inch “hawg” walleye on Saganaga Lake. He was fishing with leeches and a slip bobber on 6-pound test line. It took about five minutes to land the fish, according to his father, Derek Brown, right. They were guided by Jessica Berg-Collman of Seagull Creek Fishing Camp. “It was an amazing day on a beautiful border lake!” reports Derek Brown.
This beautiful bass was caught by Sam Escen, right, of Chanhassen, while fishing for sunfish near Bigfork, Minn. It was caught on a small jig with a bit of nightcrawler. The bass gave Sam a mighty battle, but with an assist from big brother Anthony, left, he was able to land it. His first bass created a memory of a lifetime.
Khalil Jones of north Minneapolis caught this splake trout in July on High Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It was his first trip to the BWCA.
Louis Rosenberg of Minnetonka caught a 36-inch northern pike, his personal best, while trolling a shad rap on Medicine Lake. Louis battled to get the fish in for eight minutes.
Jake Fischmann with his daughter, Clara, of Woodbury and their 42-inch muskie. Fischmann reports: “We were up on Lake of the Woods for a fishing trip. It was Clara’s 11th birthday and she is crazy about fishing. On July 6, we finished up a day of walleye fishing, and Clara wanted to cast for about 5-10 minutes for smallmouth (she loves the way they jump). The guide said he had a good smallmouth spot and we stopped for about five minutes on the way back to the lodge. On the LAST CAST of the day, this monster hit.” He said they thought it was a snag but Clara insisted that it was a fish, moving. She fought the fish for 10 minutes on a walleye rod, with 10-pound test and on a spinner bait. “Her arms were too tired to hold it after. A memory we will never forget,” said her father. The fish was safely released.
Nancy Weidenfeller, right, of Minnetonka, caught this 35-inch northern pike on July 6 at Lake Saint Joseph in northwestern Ontario. Weidenfeller used a silver spoon to make the catch while fishing with Val Campbell. Campbell is the Lodge’s first full-time female fishing guide.
Liz Checkai, from Milwaukee, caught and released this 16 1/2 inch largemouth bass while fishing with friends on July 4 on Prior Lake. In just her second fishing experience, she also caught three crappies and three other largemouth bass. She released each of them. She was shut out in her first outing.
Kiara Bommarito, age 10, caught this sunnie on a cool, sunny Sunday while fishing from her grandparents’ dock on Stubbs Bay using half of a sparkly worm. She was fishing with her Mom, Olivia Bommarito.
Korinne Bommarito, age 8, caught this sunnie on Stubbs Bay while fishing with her grandfather, Lee Harren. She was using an ice fishing rod with a bobber and half of a sparkly worm.
Harper Osterhaus, 9, of Eagan, caught the first walleye of her life in 12 feet of calm water on Upper Red Lake with a jig and minnow. She was fishing June 2, with her dad and grandpa.
Thomas Sjoberg of Edina caught and released this jumbo walleye while bobber fishing from the dock at his family’s cabin on Lake Vermilion, at dinner time. He didn’t have a measuring stick handy, but estimated its length at close to 30 inches.
A northern pike put up a big fight for Nolan Louwagie, 4, of Shoreview, who caught it with a spinner bait near Danbury, Wis.