Of course, the muskies caught by Lance Zimmerman and his daughter Autumn on June 15 are Fishes of the Week. I already ran an extended story.
FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. Well, usually. This one was special enough to be pulled separate. The extended online version of FOTW appears here by midnight Tuesday.
E-mail nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the story from Lance:
Lance and Autumn's day on the Fox Chain
Hello all, I got out on the Chain with my daughter Autumn on Mon. 6/15/09 to see if we could maybe at least get a glimpse of a Muskie since she has never been able to see one up close. Little did I know what was in store for us?
We started casting on Catherine and we got lucky right away. I caught a 30.5 on a bucktail and this was a perfect size for her to handle so I got some good pics of her holding/releasing the fish. My day was made right there. We could have left right then and I would have been the happiest dad on earth.
But she thought it was so cool that we decided to keep at it and see if we could get another. At about 3:30 we moved to Channel and with luck on our side I managed a nice 42" on the same bucktail. After some quick celebrations she was releasing the fish with a smile from ear to ear. O.k. Back to Catherine we go, now the fish seem really active so im really burning the bucktails along the weed edges hoping for another when a 37" just inhales it as its bulging out of the water. After we cut the hooks out of her and I really explain how important it is to release these fish unharmed to my daughter Autumn we take a few quick pic's and she back in to fight another day.
Now it's approaching dusk and Autumn and I decide to maybe call it a day. I mean we are just spent from casting all afternoon and we accomplished what we came to do so we say let's head out. Then, as im driving off my little trooper of a 6 year old say's "Dad, maybe we should try that spot where we got the big one just one more time" I smiled at her and off we went. I pulled up on the spot and even after all the bucktail fish something is telling me "Topwater." I put on the Black Widow Topraider and blast a few casts as we work towards the icon on my GPS. Right as we get on the spot I turn into my figure 8 and a mid-thirties came right up on it but I spooked it off trying to get Autumn to see the fish. One more cast to the spot and as im looking back at her talking my rod just stops dead, this fish went ballistic on the surface headshaking and I instantly knew what I had. It was a real struggle to get her in the net but I pulled it off.
50.5 but with a tail pinch she would of gone 51" What an unbelievable day on the water with my daughter. I wanted to get a release pic and a pic with Autumn but I dropped my camera and that was that. O'well, nothing could ruin this day!!!
As a dad, I am flatout envious, just of the experience.
But the big fish deserves some perspective too. Ray Thompson, chair of the Illini Muskies Alliance said it is the 43rd reported 50-inch-plus muskie and second biggest of the year in Illinois.