Nicole Steen displays a 38.5-inch muskie she caught with boyfriend Alex Templeton on Clear Lake on Sunday, Aug. 28.

CLEAR LAKE — After a morning of little luck, Nicole Steen caught one of her biggest muskies on Clear Lake on Sunday afternoon.

Although she grew up hunting and fishing with her dad, Steen said she hadn’t started fishing for muskies and other bigger fish until she began dating her boyfriend, Alex Templeton, last year.

“Ever since we’ve started dating she’s been hooked on it,” said Templeton, 25, a part-time guide on Clear Lake.

Since then, Steen estimated she has caught six muskies and “hundreds” of other species like walleyes and other fish.

Out on the lake for about five hours on Sunday, she suddenly felt a sharp pull on her line.

“Obviously, I’m super excited,” said Steen, 22, of Leland. “When you fish for muskies, they can get off so easily.

“I could tell it was a big fish, it was jerking on the line,” she said. “They always find weird ways to get off.”

Templeton helped bring the fish in with a net. They took a quick picture, then released the fish back in the water.

“In my experience with it, (it’s) the best way to handle those fish,” he said. “Take a quick picture and get them back in the water.”

He said the fish measured 38.5 inches and weighed an estimated 20 pounds.

“It was a pretty quick fight when you were actually fishing for it,” Templeton said.

Her record muskie was a half-inch bigger, Steen said.

“Just reeling in a fish that big, if you sit and think about it ... it takes them years to get that big,” she said. “A fish (like) that is so old. It is just really neat.

“When we do it together, it’s kind of our thing. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

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