Bismarck angler breaks long-standing North Dakota walleye record

Neal Leier and his record walleye near Fox Island in Bismarck. (Photo courtesy Facebook/North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

With its two boat ramps and ample parking on a lazy stretch of the Missouri River in Bismarck, Fox Island Park is an ideal place to drop a boat.

And a line. With a fish-cleaning station and plenty of shore-fishing options, it’s a legitimate fishing location, regarded as one of the better stretches for fishing walleyes on the Missouri in Bismarck.

After Friday, May 18, its reputation as a walleye fishing hotspot – and now, too, its place in North Dakota fishing history – is firmly secured.

Reportedly jigging in cold, rainy conditions about 100 yards from the Fox Island boat ramp on Friday morning, Bismarck’s Neal Leier landed a 15-pound, 13-ounce walleye, breaking a North Dakota record that had stood for nearly 60 years. The record was verified – after being weighed on two separate scales, according to reports – soon after by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The walleye, which measured 32-1/2 inches, broke the previous record – set by Blair Chapman of Minnewaukan on Wood Lake in 1959 – by an ounce. According to Game and Fish, it was the state’s longest-standing fish record. (The 1959 record walleye was also a point of contention over the years: There are no photos of the fish, it wasn’t mounted and, overall, its story remains mostly a mystery.)

Leier, whose previous personal-best walleye was 24 inches, reportedly plans to have the fish mounted. His brother Glenn, also of Bismarck, reportedly caught a walleye weighing 15 pounds, one ounce and measuring 32 inches in the Missouri three weeks earlier.

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