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47.86 lbs. KING - New State Record

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A young man on a charter in Ludington using a spoon (MOONSHINE - Raspberry carbon)  did the job. The previous record was in 1978 at 46 lbs. So, why could one fish find all that food?


In July, a 39 lb king was caught off of Muskegon.

39-pound ‘fish of a lifetime’ salmon hooked in Lake Michigan - mlive.com

Edited by CJ428
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So, why could one fish find all that food?

I am not sure what the official answer is going to be from those who study such things. My thoughts about it go back a number of years when I was writing outdoor stories, and I interviewed a DNR fish biologist about our salmon. It has always stuck in my head what he said. Our Chinook are the same species that live in the ocean, and there, they grow up to and over 50 pounds. So why don't ours? He said the reason was that our salmon, once mature, feed on the baitfish such as alewives and smelt. In the ocean, salmon will feed on baitfish that size for the first year or two, and then graduate up to a bigger size baitfish. They may change their diet a several times during their four year lifespan. He said here in the Great Lakes, they tend to get stuck on alewives and there is nothing really to step up to. He explained that in the ocean, 3-4 year-old salmon eat cisco size fish all the time. They get more bang for their buck. You know, don't have to expend as much energy chasing food down, etc. The missing link here in the lakes is a baitfish size in between the alewives and cisco. Something for them to step up to bigger sized prey. But he said, if they ever do find that connection and get to a point where they start feeding on cisco size fish, we would have 50 pound salmon in the Great Lakes too. So I thought about what he said when I heard the news about the new record. My guess is this fish, along with the 39 pounder caught earlier this year and who knows how many others swimming around out there, have learned to make the switch. Maybe with the alewife population low, food was scarce and this fish found a school of in-between prey, and either fed on those for a while until it switched to the big fish, or somehow jumped right to schools of cisco, whitefish or menominee, and hunted the smaller fish among their schools to make that step. I will be curious to hear what the experts in the field have to say. All I know for sure, is I have two of those Moonshine Carbon Raspberry spoons I bought last year, and I am hoping the lake lays down enough for me to get out and use them in the morning. :-)

Sent from my moto z4 using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

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All that and:

different rivers have different strains of salmon, some known for their early run times, some for their food quality, some for their size.  Our brood stock were not from a river known for large fish.

More salmon stay out in the ocean 5-7 years.  Ours are usually done in 2-3.  Rare is the four year fish any more.

Out lake gets very cold in the winter, and the fish slow down because of it.  In the ocean they can always find 50-55 degrees somewhere.


If that fish was keyed on 1-2# prey, why did it hit a 5" spoon?

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