Some of the creatures that lurk in the darkness beneath Minnesota's ice-covered waterways are truly magnificent.
For example, this 120-pound sturgeon reeled in by Darren Troseth, of Jordan, and John Kimball, of Prior Lake, while they were fishing near Bayport on the St. Croix River on Saturday night.
They had been fishing for three hours and didn't see any fish on their sonar when all of a sudden one marking appeared, and it just happened to be what is potentially the largest fish of any kind ever caught in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
But reeling it in was a battle that required drilling a much wider hole than normally required for ice fishing, and even when they had what they thought was a big enough hole, it wasn't.
"He's not coming in," says Troseth in the video they posted to YouTube. "He's not gonna fit."
They called on some other local anglers to help auger out an even wider hole, and after more than an hour of battling the beast they were finally able to pull it out of the water.
"Oh my god," a bystander says in the video. "That thing's bigger than you."
Its record size is pending with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, but if it holds up, it'll go down as a state record.
The fish measured 78 inches long and 29.5 inches around with an approximate weight of 120 pounds. It'll likely break the current state record of 73 inches long, 30 inches around, which was caught by a Stillwater man on Rainy River May 4, 2018.
Troseth used the following gear:
- Rod: Wolfram Custom 40"
- Heavy Ree: Okuma Ceymar C40
- Line: Homemade beads with treble hook
- Bait: Fatheads and crawlers
The fish was so big that they even struggled getting it back in the water, but once it got its head through the hole it took off back to freedom.
You can see all of the catch and release fishing records right here.