Angler ties Minnesota state record for catch-and-release muskie

The DNR certified a 57 1/4 inch muskie caught July 23 on Lake Vermilion by Todd Kirby of Hudson, Wisconsin as tied with a 2019 muskie also caught on Lake Vermilion.

With two Vermilion Lake muskies now tied for the state record, this well-known water body continues to prove itself as a top muskie fishing destination. Kirby had fished the lake a handful of times and was familiar with small pockets that muskie seem to inhabit.

“That Friday night we were up against the weather. There was a huge storm front moving through creating extremely unstable conditions. The humidity was high, and storm clouds were building. It was one of those nights that the fish seemed to be super active, our boat had multiple chases, one resulting in a 48 inch fish in the net — at that time my personal best,” Kirby said.

They continued fishing into the night and around 10:30 p.m. he had a large “thud” hit his line hard when his bait was no more than 15 yards from the boat.

“I compared it to reeling in a large moving ‘log’ and after a few dark splashes, she was in the net. Everything just happened so fast!” Kirby said.

Kirby and fishing partners John and Will Gavic thought the fish looked 50 inches and were amazed seeing they caught a fish even longer, and one that would earn state record status.

“My bait just so happened to be the one that she ate, but that whole night couldn’t have been possible without the help of John Gavic and Will Gavic. Muskie fishing is a team effort, and when you have a good team on your side, landing a fish of that caliber creates a memory of a lifetime,” Kirby said.