With all the giant walleye being caught in the Columbia River, it was bound that the state record was going to get broken.
That was the case when John Grubenhoff of Pasco landed a new state record 20.32 pound walleye on Feb. 28 in McNary Pool (also known as Lake Wallula) of the Columbia River, which is located in Benton County.
The walleye measuring 35.50 inches long with a girth of 22.75 inches was caught by Grubenhoff while trolling in 22 feet of water upstream along a current break at 0.8 mph using a Rapala J-13 lure six feet behind a two-ounce “bottom walker” weight.
The huge walleye confirmed by state Fish and Wildlife beat out the old record of 19.3 pound that measured 33.7 inches with a birth of 22.2 inches, and was also caught in McNary Pool by Mike Hepper of Richland on Feb. 5, 2007. The Oregon state record of 19.15 pounds was caught in 1990 in the Columbia.
The southeastern area of the state has become a hotbed for walleye anglers. Boat anglers this past week in the John Day Pool averaged a catch of two walleye per rod including fish released. Bank and boat anglers in The Dalles Pool were also catching walleye.
Walleye fishing has become very popular in the Columbia River, and the fish are native to the Midwest United States.
Walleyes were first identified in Washington about 1960 in Banks Lake, according to state Fish and Wildlife, and have since spread throughout the Columbia Basin and the Columbia River from Lake Roosevelt, downstream to near Longview.
The International Game Fish Association world record is a 25 pounder caught in Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee, in 1960.