Mille Lacs muskie would best state record by nearly two pounds


Onamia, Minn. — Nolan Sprengeler landed a 55-pound, 14-ounce muskellunge on Lake Mille Lacs on Monday.

The fish, if certified by the Minnesota DNR, would best the current state record, a 54-pounder pulled out of Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957, by nearly two pounds.

Sprengeler, of Plymouth, Minn., was fishing with two buddies, Kevin Kray and Zack Skoglund, on their last outing of the year.

They attempted to launch the boat at four different landings (one was frozen solid and two had very low water) before chopping out enough ice to launch their boat at about 5 p.m. Monday.

“We didn’t get out there until it was dark,” said Sprengeler, in a phone interview with Outdoor News. “We wanted to fish for a couple of hours after the moon rise.”

He had fished about 20 days this fall on Mille Lacs, known for its record-potential muskies and brutal fall weather.

The fish bit right before the trio was about to head in, Sprengeler said.

“You are out there for one bite, and you hope it is the right bite,” he said. “And this one was definitely the right bite.”

The fish bit at the end of a cast on a soft plastic swim bait.

“It inhaled the whole thing,” Sprengeler said.
He felt the “thunk,” set the hook, and the fish thrashed its head back-and-forth all the way to the boat, where Kray, with a headlamp turned on, netted the fish.

Sprengeler said he started to realize the record potential of the fish when he tried to lift it. He needed Kray’s help to hoist the fish for a photo.

“We had the bump board, and it was close to 58 inches,” Sprengeler said.

At 57 ¾ inches, the fish was longer than the current catch-and-release record, which is held by two muskies, both caught out of Lake Vermilion, that measured 57 ¼ inches. Sprengeler’s fish had a 29-inch girth.

But they gave up their effort to release the fish after an hour taking turns trying to revive the fish in the cold water.

“We tried everything and realized it wasn’t going to happen,” Sprengeler said. “We realized the next best course was to respect this fish and get it certified as the next record.”

The fish was weighed on a certified scale at a metro area UPS store on Tuesday.

It was then taken to Daryl Ellison, DNR’s west metro fisheries supervisor, so that it could be officially verified as a muskie.

“We reviewed the application with them and signed it for our species verification,” Ellison said Wednesday.

Jon Hansen, DNR’s fisheries program consultant, verified, via text, that DNR has received the application and that it would likely be reviewed next week.



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