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Steve Young muskie 2

Steve Young of Parkersburg caught and released a 50-inch muskie on Clear Lake May 15. 

CLEAR LAKE | A Parkersburg man had the catch of a lifetime on Clear Lake when he caught and released a 50-inch muskie earlier this month. 

Steve Young, 51, said he was excited when he caught the lake monster last week and glad his friend Tyler Evers was there to net it.

“He was my boss and coworker for 4 years,” Evers said of Young. “We continue to share fishing trips.”

The two go to Canada once a year, Young said, and have become close. 

On May 15, Young and Evers decided to fish for walleyes on Clear Lake. They took Young’s boat and got to the lake around 4 a.m.

They started out near the point by the island at Bayside but didn’t have much luck.

“We decided to make a move to a long break line and pull crankbaits to see if that would improve our luck,” Evers said.

They headed over to the north shore, where there is a rise under the water.

Evers said about 15 minutes into their first pass, Young's rod doubled back.

“We both thought at first he was hung up on a snag,” Evers said.

Young took the boat out of gear.

“I told Tyler, ‘I think I got one,’” Young said.

Steve Young muskie 1

Steve Young of Parkersburg shows off the 50-inch muskie he caught and released on Clear Lake May 15. 

It didn’t take long for the pair to realize it wasn’t a walleye -- it was a big fish.

“He and I were using medium power rods with 10-pound line,” Evers said. Young had to carefully, slowly bring the fish up. 

 

“After about 5 minutes of easing the fish in, we got our first glimpse of the fish,” Evers said.

It was a large -- possibly giant -- muskie.

“It was almost as if the fish didn't know it was hooked because as it noticed the boat, then decided they weren't having any of that,” Evers said.

This led to a nearly 20-minute battle on light tackle.

“I let her do what she wants,” Young said. “You usually don't get to see that.”

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Young was able to reel her in and Evers netted the muskie.  

Steve Young muskie 3

The 50-inch muskie Steve Young of Parkersburg caught and released on Clear Lake May 15. 

“To be perfectly honest, I was a bit nervous as the net guy, not wanting to knock a fish of a lifetime off at the boat,” Evers said.  “Finally, Steve got the fish tired and up to the boat, I managed to scoop it up and into the boat, and a few shouts, high fives, and fist bumps ensued.”

The muskie thrashed around as Young tried to calm her down so they could measure her and release her.

“I am very excited, I mean, I am stoked about this fish,” Young said. “She was thrashing, and I’m wearing a pair of shorts and some sandals.”

The pair have caught several large fish in the past but this one takes the cake, they said.

Young had a 4-foot, or 48-inch, measuring stick screwed into the boat.

“We gave her a 50-inch mark but she was well beyond 48 inches,” Young said. “That's a fish of a lifetime.”

The state record muskie was measured at 52 inches, according to Iowa DNR records. It was caught on Big Spirit Lake in Dickinson County in 2000.

Though he was excited, he knew he had to get the fish back into the water.

“To me, you just don't kill a fish that big,” Young said. He wanted to put her back into the lake "for someone else to experience."

He put her in the water, made sure she was all right and give her a push. Evers recorded the release.

Young said it’s important to keep big fish in the lake. Not everyone can afford to go north or leave Iowa for big fish, he said.

“I’m a bit of a conservationist but I like to fish,” Young said. “You can’t take all them big fish out of there.”

Young spoke of his grandfather and older generation’s attitudes toward fishing and conservation.

“Some were always under the impression that you can take as much as you want,” Young said. “You can’t do that anymore.”  

Young believes that putting the fish back is a huge step in preserving ecosystems.

“Maybe a 10-year-old will catch her next time,” Young said. “That will draw people to Clear Lake.”

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Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.

 

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