Pinook Salmon Record Almost Broken Twice In Less Than 24 Hours. But What’s a Pinook Anyway?

The unusual pink salmon-Chinook salmon hybrid cross is making a good showing in the Door County area of Lake Michigan off the Badger State.

Miroslav Cigler record pinook salmon
Miroslav Cigler with the likely new state record pinook. Courtesy Miroslav Cigler

The afternoon of Aug. 5 is one that Miroslav Cigler of Daggett, Michigan isn’t likely to soon forget. He was trolling for salmon for the first time on Lake Michigan aboard the “Angler’s Edge” charter boat out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin with Capt. Sid Ernest at the helm, according to the Door County Pulse.

Suddenly the first fish of the afternoon hit a trolled green “Howie Fly” that was darting behind a chrome flasher taken deep with a downrigger to 60 feet in 165 feet of water. After a tussle of a fight, Cigler muscled the fish to the boat where it was netted.

Back at Howie’s Tackle following the fishing trip, Cigler’s salmon was positively identified by a Wisconsin DNR biologist as a pinook, according to a Facebook post by Angler’s Edge.

Cigler’s record fish had an official weight of 11.67 pounds, with a 29.75-inch length. With proper record paperwork going through the state system, Cigler’s pinook salmon should become the new Wisconsin record for the species, bettering the previous Wisconsin pinook salmon weighing 9-pounds, 1.6 ounces with a 27.88-inch length, caught July 30, 2016 in Lake Michigan off Door County near Washington Island.

Remarkably, about 24 hours later on Aug. 6 while trolling Lake Michigan off Algoma, Wis., located south of Sturgeon Bay and east of Green Bay, angler Kyle Gebert of Rudolph, Wis. hooked a heavy fish. The salmon hit a purple “Stinger Spoon” in 180 feet of water, trolled 70 feet down off Gebert’s own boat. His fish measured 27 inches long, and weighed 10.4 pounds – much better than the 2016 pinook record that had held the state top spot for six years, but not as heavy as Cigler’s 11.67-pound salmon landed just the day prior.

There was some confusion with Gebert’s fish, as he and others believed it was a pink salmon, which would have crushed the current Wisconsin 1999 pink salmon record by over four pounds.

Wisconsin DNR fisheries biologists examined Gebert’s fish for positive ID that it was a pinook.

Had Gebert caught his fish before Cigler’s, his catch could have been a new Wisconsin pinook record, at least for a time.

The IGFA World Record pinook is a fly-caught fish weighing 16 pounds with a 38.25-inch length. It was caught by David Conlin Sept. 20, 1999 near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The fish took a nymph type fly.

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