State record fish disallowed

Submitted Photo The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has disqualified this 16 lbs., 9 ounce walleye that was believed to have broken the state record. Game and Fish investigation determined the fish was not legally caught.

What was thought to be a new state record walleye caught on hook and line has been disqualified.

Tom Volk of Lincoln caught the 16 pound, 9 ounce whopper measuring 32 one-half inches in length while shore fishing along the Heart River in Mandan April 22. A news release from Game and Fish touted the walleye as “besting the old record by three-quarters of a pound.” However, the fish had not actually been certified as a state record.

Investigation by Game and Fish determined that the fish was “foul hooked,” meaning it was not hooked in the mouth but rather in the body.

“We did interviews, talked to eye witnesses who had direct knowledge,” said Robert Timian, NDG&F enforcement chief. “It was not intentionally snagged. Foul hooked is when someone is fishing legitimately but the fish is hooked behind the gill plate.”

Since the fish was determined to be foul hooked, which makes it illegal to harvest, Game and Fish could not certify the fish as a new state record. All state records must comply with the rules of recreational fishing.

Timian said his department’s investigation determined that Volk was likely unaware that his single hook jig was not imbedded in the jaw of the walleye.

“Based on the information we have, it is possible he didn’t realize it was foul hooked,” explained Timian. “He didn’t net the fish or see how it was hooked at the time.”

As a result of the disqualification the state walleye record remains the ownership of Neal Leier, Bismarck, who caught a 15 lbs., 13 ounce walleye in the Missouri River on May 18, 2018.