57-inch 49-pound Monster Muskie Caught in Wabigoon:

Travis Tourond holds a 57-inch Muskie he caught on Wabigoon Lake in July of 2011. It is estimated that the Muskie weighed between 47 and 48 pounds and is one of the largest Muskie caught on the Wabigoon / Dinorwic Lake system this year.

By Chris Marchand

Dryden angler Travis Tourond struggling to support 57 inches of plump, juicy locally-caught muskellunge.

Travis Tourond was fishing on Wabigoon Lake with his buddy, David Walker of Thunder Bay, when he hooked into this toothy brute.

Walker was busy untangling a bird's nest in his reel and Tourond says the duo were thinking about heading home when the fish of a lifetime struck.

"We actually fished for 15 hours that day and we saw about six other fish (following bait) but we couldn't get them to bite," said Tourond. "It was right at the end of the night, around 8:30 p.m., we were dead tired from fishing all day. Then all of a sudden I saw this thing come up and just nail the bait. I just put the bait in the right spot I guess."

Tourond said the battle was a quick one, lasting about 45 seconds as the fish swam straight at the boat. After some measurements and a quick photo, the fish was returned to the water.

"I would never keep a fish that big," said Tourond. "Even a big walleye. I keep small ones to eat, but I'd never keep something like that. Hopefully next year I can go back and get him again."

The fish measured 57 inches in length and 26 inches in girth — musky calculators estimate the fish's weight at just over 48 lbs.

Tourond says the catch landed him sponsorships with rod maker St. Croix Rods and Northland Tackle, makers of the Boobie Trap Spinner he used to catch the beast.

Working four days on, three days off with Ontario Hydro, Tourond says he spends practically all of his free time in a boat chasing the big fish on Wabigoon and Eagle Lake and says he's lucky enough to have a girlfriend who shares his passion.

"If you add up the hours you spend looking for those fish…" he says. "You don't pull up too many like that though. Over the last couple years we're noticing more fish. I don't know if it's because we're getting better at fishing them. It's hard to say, especially with all the electronics and all the data we can get off the Internet.