CLARKSBURG, W.Va.(WBOY &WFXR) — A new West Virginia state record muskellunge, aka musky, has been caught, and the big fish has been released to be caught another day. The muskie measured 54 inches long and weighed 39.6 pounds.
Chase Gibson, a fishing guide who normally offers his services on Stonewall Jackson Lake, caught the new record, just a little further south at Burnsville Lake. The reservoir is located just off I-79 in Braxton County.
“I was fishing a timbered cove with a lot of crappie suspended on the timber,” said Gibson as he described the catch. “I caught it on a Musky Innovations Dyin’ Dawg.”
Gibson says the fish put up a tremendous fight, but he was able to get it to the boat, and another angler onboard netted it.
“She was barely hooked with one treble in the corner of her mouth.”
Gibson knew his fish might be a new record, so he called the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to certify the catch. WVDNR Biologist Aaron Yeager is one of the people who manages fisheries at Burnsville. He responded and certified the muskie as a new West Virginia State Record. Then the huge fish was tagged and released.
“Think how cool it would be if another angler hooks that fish in the fall and sets a new state record,” said Yeager.
Gibson broke the previous record for length (53.5 inches) held by Joe Wilfong since 2017. Anna Marsh maintains the record for weight with a 49.75-pound musky caught at Stonecoal Lake in 1997.
The giant muskie was caught in an area where Yeager has worked to develop fish habitat. One of his primary goals is to expand those fish-holding areas on Burnsville.
“The record is a testament to the habitat work we’ve done for that reservoir.”
In addition to muskies, Burnsville is also known for huge crappies, and good numbers of largemouth bass.