record whitefish
Lyle Erickson

Potential Minnesota Record Whitefish Caught By Oklahoma Angler

A fisherman recently pulled a whitefish through the ice that is the potential new Minnesota state record.

Billy King of Pryor, Oklahoma, may soon claim to have caught the Minnesota state record whitefish. All he needs is to have the DNR confirm his catch and his name will occupy the top spot in the Minnesota record book.

It was also the Oklahoma angler's first ice fishing trip. He and some buddies were fishing Lake of the Woods near Warroad, Minnesota during the first week of April and were having some pretty good success catching a variety of different species. But when King pulled the big whitefish through the hole he wasn't sure what he had.

"I had no idea what it was," he told the Grand Forks Herald. "Being from Oklahoma, it looked like a white carp to me."

King's whitefish weighed 13.57-pounds and measured 29.5-inches long, beating the current state record by well over a pound. The state record fish program says that one was caught in 1999 on Leech Lake, and weighed 12.25-pounds.

King was fishing with Dave Erickson and Lyle Erickson (no relation).

Following the advice of another angler who was impressed by the fish at the landing, the men took the whitefish to Thompson Taxidermy in nearby Warroad. "We took it to the taxidermy shop...and their jaws dropped,'' said Dave Erickson.

A couple days later King brought the whitefish to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office in Baudette where he filed the paperwork for record consideration. Once the paperwork is reviewed and the fish officially confirmed the Minnesota DNR is expected to recognize King's new record.

A great weekend all around

Lyle Erickson told me that "The entire weekend was remarkable. Taking a guy, from Oklahoma, out on his first trip ever on the ice was exciting in itself. He was definitely a fisherman. Over the weekend he managed to catch five species of fish: walleye, sauger, perch, tullibee, northern pike...and he topped it off with a record whitefish."

"The whole thing is just really overwhelming to me,'' King said. "I'm just an old fisherman who wanted to go fishing. I can't even catch a state record fish in my own state.''

"I think I will come back for sure," he said. "Everybody has been so nice, so friendly, and not just because of catching the fish. I mean even before that. It's just been amazing, really. It's been an amazing trip."

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