Matthew Swanson, of Woodbury, Minn., caught the northern pike on the Rainy River. (Handout/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources )
Apparently, the first time’s a charm for this teenage angler.
Matthew Swanson, of Woodbury, Minn., recently caught a record-breaking northern pike during a fishing trip with his dad and brother on the Rainy River. For three days, Swanson watched as his dad and brother landed several large pikes — some measuring more than 30 inches long.
Using his dad’s 30-pound test wire, Swanson took a few casts and suddenly “water around his fly exploded,” the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) described in a Monday news release. Right away, Swanson knew he had hooked something huge.
Following a “brief fight and some careful netting,” Swanson managed to examine his impressive catch: a 45.25-inch northern pike.
Swanson posed for a few pictures with the large fish — a freshwater fish that can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere that’s an average of 24 to 30 inches long, according to American Expedition — before releasing it back into the river. The largest pike ever caught in the U.S. was reportedly 58 inches long.
But Swanson’s catch was large enough to put his name in the state’s record book.
The 45.25-inch northern pike surpassed the previous state record set in early October by Maddy Ogg, who reeled in a 43.5-inch pike from Mille Lacs Lake.
“Because this was to date my first and only pike on a fly, it was a very memorable experience,” Swanson told the Minnesota DNR.
According to the Minnesota DNR, Swanson actually caught the prized fish on May 6, but they didn’t receive his state record submission form until Oct. 29. Therefore, his noteworthy catch was only recently certified.
The agency encourages other anglers to compete for a new record as “fall temperatures make excellent catch-and-release conditions.”
“There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish,” the Minnesota DNR added.