Dale MacNair's World Record Catch-&-Release Muskie:

The fact is the IGFA needs to shake off their 1950s "kill it before it loses weight" mentality. The IGFA will not investigate a possible new record unless you deliver the whole dead fish, which is totally unnecessary. The most recent example is Dale MacNair's World Record Catch & Release Muskie, which the IGFA will not recognize because, as a true sportsman and a man who values life and nature, Dale let the fish go to be caught another day. The idea of not recognizing his fish as a catch-&-release record is just ludicrous. He had photos, measurements and witnesses. Before we get into this, let me tell you the story of Dale's exciting catch.

Dale MacNair's Muskie: On November 28/2008 while fishing on the St. Lawrence River, Dale hooked into a monster Muskie that was 57 inches long and had a 33-inch girth. Catching and measuring of the great fishing was witnessed by Julie Cashaback of Ottawa and Sal Rotolo of Gananoque. Experts along with various excepted mathematical formulas for Muskie weight put the fish between 65.4 pounds and 68.97 pounds. Since Louis Spray's Muskie and Ken O'Brian's Muskie were both killed, Dale's Muskie is the world's largest known Muskie to be caught and released alive.

The IGFA will not recognize the fish because Dale did not kill the fish, wrap it up in dry ice and send it to them. Their rationalization is that they were unable to do genetic testing on the fish. OK, that is understandable with many species of fish but with Muskie it's different. If this fish is not a pure bred Muskellunge than the only thing it can possibly be is a Tiger Muskie, which is a cross between a Muskellunge and a Northern Pike. But wait!! Dale's fish is twice the size of the current World Record Tiger Muskie so how can that be? How can Dale's fish be a Tiger Muskie? Logic dictates that Dale's fish is a pure bred Muskellunge and Dale MacNair is the holder of the World Record Catch-&-Release Muskie. If he is not, then he just doubled-up the World Record Tiger Muskie record.

Possible Solutions for the Future:

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, MNR, does more studies on Muskie than any other organization on Earth. For years the MNR has been collecting tiny slivers off the Muskie's gill plate for complete genetic testing. This can be done with any fish. The IGFA should adapt the following procedures in order to let catch-&-release fish enter the record books.

1) The fish's length and girth need to be measured and witnessed along with a photo of the fish beside a source of measurement like a tape measure so secondary analysis of the fish's length can be verified.

2) Witnesses have to submit legal affidavits of what they witnessed.

3) Slice a tiny sliver off the gill plate for genetic testing and have a photo of both the sliver and the fish's gill plate closely together to verify the sliver and the gill plate match.

4) Have the gill plate and evidence verified by an official witness such as a game warden or a police officer and the information and gill plate need to be mailed by the official.

Meat fishing and killing of large trophies has been unacceptable among sports fishing enthusiast since the mid 80s. This has resulted in a vast improvement in both Ontario's fisheries and fisheries in the US. The killing has to stop. Let's switch things around so people who do kill fish are not eligible for record status. Dale did what was right and we need to follow his lead.

Dale's Story as told by Thousand Islands Life.com

Written by David Ray & Susan W. Smith posted on February 12, 2009 23:41

A "Monster" muskie was caught in the Thousand Islands on November 28th by Ottawa resident Dale MacNair who was with his girl friend, Julie Cashaback, and their experienced fishing friend - Sal Rotolo of Gananoque.

Since the story broke, Dale has given dozens of interviews, resulting in more than two dozen citations on popular fishing web pages. This includes appearing in Chicago at the Annual Muskie Show in early January, in which he describes how he caught the fish and how his partners helped make it possible. Also, Muskie Canada invited Dale to Gananoque where he was honoured by Mayor Jim Garrah who inscribed Dale's name on the famous Muskie Board.

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, hearing Dale tell about his catch is even better! Click on the link(s) at the end of the article and hear Dale explain how they went into "Success" mode with each member of the team having specific responsibilities. One interview in particular, "Dale MacNair's 57X33 inch Monster Muskie", with Steve Sworrall from Outdoor.com, tells exactly how Dale caught his fish. It is a true drama, taking into account the harsh November weather and as Dale says, "thinking outside the box".

Julie normally would have manned the landing net but she gave that over to Sal while she took the helm and moved the boat away from the shoal. Fortunately, the muskie was brought on board, quickly, and they measured the fish, not once but twice. It measured 57 inches long, 33 inches girth (145 cms. long by 84 cms. girth). Experts calculate Dale's fish weighed 65.4 pounds.

After measurement came the most-important decision of the day: keep or release?

Muskie's are relatively rare and Muskie Canada supports the Province of Ontario in regulating both size and catch limits in order to maintain the fisheries. As a result, most muskies are released so that they will continue to help the species increase in numbers.

Dale's interviewers all asked the same question. "How did you feel about releasing your truly record catch? And, he never hesitated. In fact, he explains how he and Julie placed the Muskie on a specially designed platform and began lowering the fish back into the St, Lawrence.

"She rolled over", said Dale with genuine disappointment. He knew that an improperly released fish will die. Therefore, he was elated when he turned her head and she literally flew back into waters of the Forty Acre shoal.

And what does Dale have to remember his magnificent catch - which set a new Canadian world record for the world's largest catch and release?

Lax Reproductions of Conover, Wisconsin has reproduced the fish and has placed her in the way Dale first saw her - leaping out of the water.

By David Ray and Susan W. Smith