This a recap of an article done by NWSportsman Mag. back in 2009. I bring this up as I was out fishing recently with Norm and thought people should hear this story. I fished with Norm for two days on Mayfield Lake in the "Jack Tipping Classic" where I had a great time, saw many fish, even hooked a few. Norm is an Army Soldier stationed at Fort Lewis whom has servered his country well. We can all be proud as Americans that soldiers like Norm give of themselves to protect us here at home.
Monster Musky Stirs Debate About What A Record Is
By Andy Walgamott
Norm Dillon found himself in an interesting situation recently. He was holding what could have been a new state record tiger musky in his arms.
Not that Dillon would have kept it.
In fact, the Fort Lewis, Washington-based angler slipped the 481/2-inch-long hybrid back into the cool waters of Lake Merwin and later ran the creature’s measurements through several weight calculators.
NORM DILLON AND HIS VERY LARGE TIGER MUSKY. (DON HEMPLER)
With its 25-inch girth, “one has it at 35.5 lbs and the other at 37 lbs. Either way one big fish,” Dillon tells us today.
The current state record is a 31.25-pounder caught September 22, 2001 on Mayfield Lake by John V. Bays.
Not that Dillon could have kept it.
A new rule instituted last year says that muskies must be at least 50 inches long to keep in Washington.
However, the fish is stirring debate about the nature of what a state record can be.
Bruce Bolding, a warmwater fisheries biologist with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife who often gives talks before tiger tacklers, says there is a proposal to do away with weight records for the pike-musky cross and instead go with a length-only mark.
“I don’t agree with that, but in addition to a weight record, you could have a length record,” he says.
Don Wittenburger, a Shoreline attorney and dedicated musky angler is behind the rule change. He posted his proposal on Washingtonlakes.com. He writes it’s needed:
To encourage catch and release of trophy tiger muskies that exist in extremely limited numbers in Washington State. Under the Department’s general criteria and procedures for recognizing state fishing records, the fish must be killed to obtain a weighing on a certified scale and inspection by a Department biologist. By replacing the weight-based tiger musky record with a catch-and-release tiger musky record, this proposal eliminates incentives to kill record-sized tiger muskies, in order to further encourage live release of tiger muskies and promote conservation of the state’s population of trophy-sized tiger muskies, in order to maximize trophy fishing opportunities for this species. Verifying the size of a released fish is somewhat problematical, because the fish is not available for measuring or inspection by disinterested parties. This proposal incorporates the length measuring technique used by the State of Texas for their catch-and-release records program, which satisfies the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame’s requirements for recognizing catch-and-release records. Verifying fish measurements by means of witnesses and photographs is a common practice throughout the country.
While Bolding points out there are “huge margins of error with length and girth measurements,” when Dillon emailed us about his fish this morning, he actually mentioned the weight as a side note.
From Michigan, he says he’s a bit embarrassed to say he’s only caught 10 tigers in the three years he’s been in the Northwest. Since first getting bit — a 45-incher his first trip — he’s put “thousands and thousands (worth of fishing gear) on my boat,” much to his wife’s chagrin.
He caught the monster on May 18 while fishing with an Army buddy, Don Hempler.
“My partner and I had been throwing all day with little activity. I soon decided it was time for a change, so I reached into my box of tricks and pulled out a lure I had won at raffle some time back and within 30 minutes this fish slammed it. After a brief struggle she was in the net, measured, photographed, and released to fight another day,” Dillon says.
While tiger muskies are famously hard to catch — NW Tiger Pac members have caught all of 180 between May 2007 and May 2009, only two were caught at a recent tournament on an Eastern Washington lake, five at another — keeping the fish was the furthest thing from Dillon’s mind.
“It never even entered my mind to keep it, regardless,” he says. “They’re a completely sterile fish. We’ve got a good thing going here in the Northwest.”
According to Bolding, all seven of Washington’s musky lakes — Merwin, Mayfield, Tapps, Evergreen, Curlew, Silver and Newman — got their full allotment of “big, healthy-looking” 131/2-inch tigers this spring.
“That’s a first,” he says. A total of 6,600 were stocked.
They’ll be chowing down on pikeminnows and other soft-rayed fish as the waters really heat up. Dillon’s fish (which took a double-bladed bucktail by Beast Teaser) will be putting on even more weight and girth and length.
In the meanwhile, that tiger is expanding people’s minds.
“I’m hoping this fish will raise some eyebrows and get people thinking about this,” Dillon says.
In closing since this article was written Mike Floyd of Auburn WA. has caught and released a 49" Tiger but this just furthers the discussion of the record here in Washington.