It was a good day of fishing for the Mallik family.
It was a great day of fishing for Dr. Atul Mallik in particular. He can now lay claim to the Illinois state record lake trout.
Dr. Mallik decided to charter a fishing expedition for his family on a whim. Having three generations together and fishing on one boat would have been a good enough experience in and of itself.
Throw in 18 fish for the boat and its even better day.
Make one of those fish a new state record and what started out as an impulse decision turned into a truly unforgettable day.
Lake trout natively inhabit deep, cold, freshwater ranging from northern Canada and Alaska, south to New England and the Great Lakes. The species gets bigger the further north you go, and the world record lake trout caught on a rod and wheel weighed more than 70 pounds. It was got in Canada’s Great Bear Lake in 1995.
While the Illinois record wasn’t quite that big, it’s still an absolutely amazing fish. It weighed a hefty 39.16-pounds and was 45 inches long with 28 bodacious inches of girth. The previous state record for the species had been in place since 1999, but the new fish broke that record by more than a pound.
The fishes clipped dorsal fin indicates that this is a hatchery born fish that was stocked into Lake Michigan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who lists the oldest recorded lake trout at 70 years old. Given the size of the record breaking fish, it’s likely that this fish was stocked decades ago.
Dr. Mallik said his father frequently took them fishing as kids, so having him on board while breaking a record was extra special. His younger brothers, wife, daughter, were also on the boat, Massive Confusion, which was chartered out of Chicago’s Montrose Harbor.
With 7 anglers on board, Dr. Mallik did the gentlemanly thing and let everyone else have a chance at catching a fish before him. His patience was rewarded. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Mallik said it was the 7th rod of the day that got hooked up with the big fish, so it was a matter of luck that he was the one to haul in the record breaker.
‘‘We realized how big it was when first mate Gregg Peters was bringing it in and was excitedly jumping up and down.
This is certainly the largest freshwater fish I have ever caught. It was magical. Everything was perfect. The weather was great, and everybody got up in time. They had to be on the dock by 4:45 a.m., which for my family, that is an early start.’’
He dropped the fish off at a local taxidermist and has filed the necessary paperwork.
A biologist with Illinois Department of Natural Resources is expected to sign off on the paperwork in the near future, which will make the new record official.