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Near Record Walleye Caught on the Columbia

Stan Fagerstrom - 2/24/2012
The Columbia River has produced another whopping big walleye. The latest monster weighed 18.6-pounds. It was caught by Denis Fillion, a resident of the Tri Cities.

There are several similarities between the whopper caught recently and the catching of the Washington State walleye record back in 2007. The state record walleye was caught on Feb. 5, 2007. It weighed 19.3-pounds. Fillion boated his 18.6-pound fish on Feb. 15, 2012.

Mike Hepper, the angler who took the record fish, also is a resident of the Tri Cities. Both of these huge walleye came out of the same general stretch of the Columbia below the mouth of the Snake River.

That’s just the beginning of the similarities. And the folks who produce some of the nation’s most effective walleye lures are darned happy about it. Both of these huge walleyes, you see, were taken on products marketed by Mack’s Lure, a tackle company that’s headquartered in Wenatchee Washington.

“As experienced walleye anglers know,” says Bob Schmidt, general manager of the Mack’s Lure operation, “the biggest Washington State walleye ever caught weighed 19.3-pounds. It was caught on a nightcrawler used with a crawler harness behind chartreuse beads and one of our Smile Blades.

“Denis caught this latest near record fish on a nightcrawler used with a Mack’s Lure Wally Pop lure. The Wally Pop is a floating walleye rig that also features one of our Smile Blades. The color of the Smile Blade Denis used was chartreuse with black tiger markings.”

Is Denis Fillion convinced of the effectiveness of the Mack’s Lure product he used to put his largest walleye ever in the boat? You better believe it!

“I caught four other fish on the same day and on the same Wally Pop that got the big one,” he says. “Chartreuse has always been one of my favorite colors.”

This is a time of year when the Columbia River female walleyes are loaded with eggs. That undoubtedly played a role in the weights reached by the fish Hepper and Fillion caught.

Both of the Tri City anglers will testify one of the primary reasons for their success is using lures equipped with Mack’s Lure Smile Blades. They say it’s due in large part to the minimum boat speed needed to keep these lightweight plastic blades turning to attract fish.

For some time now the Columbia River has been producing some of the largest walleye being caught anywhere in the world. There are those who believe that if and when a new record is set the Columbia is where it will come from.

They could be right. The present 19.3-pound Washington State record isn’t far away from the world record. The largest walleye ever caught weighed 22-pounds, 11-ounces and came out of Greer’s Ferry Lake in Arkansas in 1982.

There are just as many experienced walleye fishermen who are convinced of something else. It’s that if the Columbia does eventually kick out a new walleye record, odds are you’ll find a Mack’s Lure Smile Blade pinned to its mug when it’s finally brought to the net.

Stan Fagerstrom

Macks Lures