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Clear Lake muskie

Rick Fowler, Moville, caught a 49-inch muskie while fishing on a Clear Lake dock Tuesday.

CLEAR LAKE — A Moville man is happy his wife was around to help him pull in a 49-inch muskie Tuesday morning in Clear Lake.

Rick Fowler, 45, was fishing off a dock on Clear Lake’s north shore when he caught the muskie in two feet of water.

It took Fowler nearly 20 minutes to pull it in. His wife, Tammy, grabbed the net when he couldn’t.

“If it wasn’t for her I never would have landed it,” Fowler said. “I lost two others prior to this one.”

Fowler and his family had been vacationing on the lake since the weekend. This was the family’s first trip to Clear Lake and Fowler’s first muskie ever.

“I started out looking for yellow bass,” Rick Fowler said. “They disappeared because of the muskies.”

He had to switch to a 14-pound Fireline with a steel leader for his bass rig when the muskies started biting. Crazy Minnow Bait & Tackle Co. measured it at 49.25 inches and 27.75 pounds.

“It is not often we see a muskie of this size successfully landed off a dock,” the bait and tackle shop said on their Facebook post.

One of its gill arches had been torn during the struggle to get the muskie into the net. With the injury, it couldn’t be released, so Fowler will have it mounted.

“My kids were excited and, boy, I was determined to catch that thing since I lost the other two,” Fowler said.

Fowler said this catch is number three on his list of big catches. When he was younger, Fowler pulled in a 55-pound flathead catfish.

“I’m lucky to have caught some big fish,” Fowler said. “If anything, this is proof you can catch a lot off a dock and I was surprised I didn’t see more people fishing in the shallows.”

Docks are Fowler’s spot of choice when fishing. With such a successful first trip to Clear Lake, Fowler said that it certainly won’t be the family’s last.

“It’s been quite the adventure,” Fowler said.

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