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Nate McVey

By BRUCE AUCHLY

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Last Saturday, Bob Hart, of Missoula, caught his first walleye, a 14-incher. On Sunday, for his second walleye, he apparently broke the Montana state record.

Hart, 46, caught a 17.75-pound walleye at 7:15 a.m., Sunday, on the north shore of Tiber Reservoir southeast of Shelby. The fish measured 35 inches long with a 22-inch girth. The fish has been weighed on an official scale and measured but not yet seen by a state Fish, Wildlife and Parks fish biologist. The previous state record – 16.63 pounds and 31.5 inches long – was caught January 2000 in Fort Peck Reservoir.

“We were just sitting on shore fishing with a minnow and a weight to keep it on the bottom,” Hart says. He had the five-inch minnow at about 20 to 30 feet when the walleye struck. It took about 15 minutes to land, Hart says. He had 6- or 8-pound test line on his reel.

“I said ‘Ohmigod,’ and called my friend to get the net,” says Hart, who was fishing with Gordon Smedsrud of Shelby. The pair immediately took the fish to Shelby.

“It took us a while to find a certified scale in Shelby on Sunday morning,” Hart says. Fortunately Taylor’s Hardware Store was open. The fish was then taken to a local taxidermist.

To qualify as a state record a fish must be weighed on a scale certified by the state as accurate and witnessed by an observer. Dave Yerk, fisheries biologist for FWP, has seen the pictures of the fish on the scale and affidavits from five witnesses but has not seen the actual fish yet – the final act to declare a fish as a state record. “It’s a formality,” Yerk says, “I’m sure it’s a new record.”

So how does a fish grow that big in Tiber, not known for extremely large walleye? “There is a very abundant forage fish, cisco, in Tiber for a large fish,” Yerk says. During previous netting surveys, Yerk and his crew have sampled a 14-pound walleye from Tiber.

As for Hart, a life-long fisherman, he has caught bigger saltwater fish – a 180-pound marlin – but no freshwater fish even close to this one. Now, several friends are offering to take the fish off his hands. No dice, Hart says. “I think I’ll hang it in my office,” says Hart, sales director for Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

bobhartstaterecordwalleye-2.jpg

bobhartstaterecordwalleye-1.jpg

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Northlander

What a slob!

Why does it seem like the guys just fishin around relaxing for the day get the pigs? I hunt for big eyes and cant even break 33". frown.gif

Oh well congrats to him on a true monster.

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Jim Almquist

Time for a road trip to the Tiber Reservoir grin.gif.That fish is a HOG!

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Surface Tension

True hog. To break a State record in the Fall when the fish isn't full of spawn is a true hog. 35" wow.

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upnorth

Could you imagine how heavy that fish would be in the spring full of eggs? shocked.gif

Heeeeerrreeee piggy piggy wink.gif

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JAR JAR

Steve, You know the only way you will catch SLOBS is to use a Snoopy Pole and a bobber the size of a baseball and a #6 hook connected to a snap swivel. grin.gif

Very nice fish!

Jar Jar

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upnorth

OMG ain't that the truth wink.gif

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gonorthanychance

Now I know what I've been doing wrong all these years, fishing from a boat!

A very nice fish indeed.

Reminds me of my wife's very first walleye, 7.5lbs. Told her it took me many years before I landed one that size, only took her about 10 minutes her first day out.

gonorth

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upnorth

I know this is off topic, but little over a month ago went spent a week at the cabins at Eagles Nest on Fish Lake and the last day we were there some guy comes in the bar dragging 6+ # walleye he caught from the bridge. We had spent the entire week out in the boats fishing for Crappies and Walleyes and hardly hit squat and this guy comes hauls in a very nice walleye especially for Fish Lake after soaking a minnow from shore for a couple hours.

There is just no justice confused.gif

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panhead

Steve, I always just sit around and relax when I fish. 31 3/4 is my biggest.Can you say just the right spot at the right time plus an idea of what he was doing. He did have a bigger bait on and perhaps was at that location for a reason.My congrats to him also.. I wish Id put that big one of mine on the wall. It would help winters pass a little quicker.

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JustinG

Notice the gut on that thing???? Jeez!! What a monster!!!

Justin

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biff

Northlander...you can only catch the best the system has to offer. lake superior is no montana. I think 33 is close to the max for LS. They also tend to be leaner. You probably have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a 33 plus out of LS. A 32" is a monster for superior.

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Northlander

Biff your correct. I have seen 32's out of Lake Superior and 1 33"er. Your also correct that they are usually leaner because of the lack of forage and cold cold water.

I do however think there is a 33" or 34"er out there just waiting for me. If not oh well I will keep on trollin anyways. grin.gif

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biff

Most people from any state will never see a 32" let alone bigger...thats the problem with getting to that "elite" upper level of walleye hogdom...its tough to beat. I'm sure there is a 33 out there and thats what keeps you going is always wanting to get one bigger...good luck, and if you get it post some pics wink.gif Maybe you could get it pre-spawn through the ice when its full of eggs...that would be a sight shocked.gif

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