Pasco resident John Grubenhoff now holds the record for the largest walleye caught in Washington.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife Wednesday confirmed the 20.32-pound wallete Grubenhoff caught in the McNary Pool on the Columbia River broke the record.
The fish, caught Feb. 28, measured 351/2 inches long and had a girth of 223/4 inches.
The previous record walleye was caught Feb. 5, 2007, also in the McNary Pool, by Mike Hepper of Richland. That fish weighed 19.3 pounds, was 33.7 inches long and had a girth of 22.2 inches.
Grubenhoff was fishing alone on a sunny but cold day. It had been a good outing already, having landed a 14-pound hen and a 6-pound male.
He was trolling upstream off a rocky shoreline in water 22 feet deep, pulling a Rapala J-13 lure 6 feet behind a 2-ounce “bottom walker” weight when the record fish hit.
“I got it up to the boat and I wasn’t paying attention to how huge it was until I lifted it,” Grubenhoff told The Spokesman-Review. “ ‘Wow!’ I thought.
“Then I set it on the bottom of the boat and said, ‘Oh my Lord!’”
Grubenhoff continued to fish another 45 minutes before he gave into the excitement of catching the record fish, and headed to shore to have the fish weighed.
Grubenhoff’s fish is the first walleye weighing more than 20 pounds caught in the United States since 1988, said Bruce Bolding, the department’s warm water fisheries manager.