A Wisconsin wildlife official caught a walleye that was half a pound short of the state record.
The fish, caught on Lake Wazee, weighed 17.5 pounds and 32.3 inches long, the La Crosse Tribune says. The state record walleye is listed as an 18-pound fish caught in 1933 on High Lake, according to DNR records.
Daniel Hatleli, a fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, with the help of fish technician Brad Betthauser, landed the walleye on Dec. 16.
They weren't even looking for the fish – they were out on the lake to check for cisco, a forage species, the Journal Sentinel reports.
After weighing the walleye on an uncertified scale, they returned it to the lake – giving the fish the chance to grow and possibly break the state record.
That is, if someone is able to catch it, the La Crosse Tribune notes.
Lake Wazee is a unique lake. The 350-foot deep lake started as an iron mine – and when the pit filled with water, Lake Wazee was born, the Journal Sentinel says.
“Because of its uniqueness, a lot of your typical fishing techniques you would use in most lakes around here and in Wisconsin aren’t going to apply,” Hatleli told the La Crosse Tribune.
The deep lake has "very clear water," which makes it a popular destination for scuba divers, the Journal Sentinel says.