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Melton Hill Musky


A man caught a 43-pound muskellunge in Melton Hill Lake this week that, after state confirmation, likely will be a Tennessee record.

Once verified, angler Steven Paul will have broken a 34-year-old record, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The prized muskie hit Steven Paul's artificial lure about 6 p.m.Thursday, and Paul's friend Dylan Gano was present to watch him reel in the catch. Paul said the fish died in his net when it was landed, according to a TWRA release, which was the only reason he considered weighing it for a state record. Otherwise, Paul said, he would have released it back into the water.

After the catch, Paul contacted TWRA Fisheries Technician Paul Shaw, who contacted Reservoirs Fisheries Biologist John Hammonds and Regional Fisheries Coordinator Bart Carter. The officials met Paul in Dandridge about three hours after the fish was caught to weigh and verify the pending state record fish. The muskie weighed in at 43 pounds, 14 ounces, and measured 51 and three-eighths inches in length with a girth of 23½ inches. The current state record muskies weighed 42 pounds, 8 ounces. It was caught in Norris Lake on April 27, 1983, by Kyle F. Edwards.

The muskellunge is known as a highly elusive fish — so much that anglers call it the "fish of 10,000 casts" — and it is native to Tennessee waters, though it's at the southern end of its range here. The fish's habitat stretches north into Canada.

Jim Negus, TWRA fisheries biologist, estimated the fish to be 12-15 years old.

“The muskie is an apex predator and a tremendous sport fish native to Tennessee," Hammonds said in a news release. "They put on a remarkable fight, once hooked and are typically very difficult to catch. A musky over 50-inches in length is extremely difficult to hook and land, and is considered to be a ‘fish of a lifetime’ for most muskie anglers. Congratulations to Steven on his remarkable catch!”

Once the paperwork is certified in TWRA’s Nashville office, the fish will be certified as the state record.

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