Pending Washington State Record Walleye Caught in Columbia River

A Washington angler fishing the Columbia River last Friday may have caught a new state-record walleye weighing just over 20 pounds.

John Grubenhoff of Pasco, Washington told the Spokesman Review he’s fished for walleye for 29 years and knows winter is a great time to catch heavy females full of eggs. He rushed from work to get in some fishing before dark and was catching fish 10 minutes into his trip near the Tri Cities area.

“A cold front was forecast to come in that evening so I figured that fishing would be good,” he said, noting the water temperature was 37.2 degrees. “Boy was it. My first fish came within about 10 minutes, a nice hen around 14 pounds. I released her as usual and went back at it.”

About 30 minutes later, while trolling a silver-and-black Rapala J-13 behind a 2-ounce bottom walker, he tied into the 20-pound egg-carrying female. The fish stretched 35 ½ inches long and had a 22 ¾ inch girth.

“The largest walleye I’ve caught up until now was around 18 pounds,” he said. “She was released after a few photos.”

A state biologist weighed the fish on a certified scale and said he doesn’t think the fish will have any trouble replacing the current record of 19.3 pounds set in 2007. A nearby sporting goods store has offered to pay for a taxidermist to mount Grubenhoff’s original fish and create a reproduction to display in the store.