While fishing for walleyes on the famous Mille Lacs lake, Gary Gilbert had zero intentions of catching any muskies. So, when he “caught” one that measured 2 inches longer than the state catch-and-release record, well, you can imagine his surprise.

Notice we said “caught,” because this fishing story actually has a bit of a sad twist to it.

You see, when Gary and his wife were travelling to their favorite walleye fishing hole, they noticed what they originally thought was a big walleye, belly up.

According to the Star Tribune, Gary said he was, “feeling kind of bad about it.” “I thought, ‘That’s probably the biggest walleye I’ve ever seen,'” he explained.

Instead, when the two anglers took a closer look, they discovered they had just came across a decaying 59½-inch muskie.

DNR fisheries biologist Steve Mero reportedly said the fish could be anywhere between 18 to 25 years old. Mero knows this because he noticed one of the muskie’s fins appeared to be clipped, and DNR muskie stocking records show technicians clipped the right pelvic fin of fingerlings before they entered Mille Lacs in 1992 and 1999.

Image courtesy Star Tribune Facebook

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