Missouri Man Catches Record-Breaking Walleye With 'Dying Art' Trotline

A Missouri fisherman caught a record-breaking walleye with a trotline, which is a "dying art" in fishing.

Tim Stillings caught the fish on May 16 in the Sac River, in the southwest of the state.

The fish weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces, smashing the 2018 record of 6 pounds and 14 ounces, the Missouri Department of Conservation said in a statement.

Stillings said in a press release that he usually runs trotlines for catfish.

A trotline is a method of fishing using a heavy line, with shorter lines attached at intervals all the way down. The attachments—referred to as "snoods" —are shorter than the main line and attached with clips. Each snood holds some bait.

"It's somewhat of a dying art. A lot of people don't do it anymore," Stillings said. "But this was the first walleye we've caught on a trotline, and it happened to be a state record."

Joint Effort

Stillings had been fishing with his friend, Jake Myers at the time of the catch and told the Missouri Department of Conservation that he considered the record a joint accomplishment.

"Running trotlines is a lot of work," Stillings said. "Jake was the one who suggested that it could be a state record. I didn't realize they had separate records for alternative methods."

Once Stillings realised how big the fish was, the Missouri Department of Conservation took the fish in to weigh in Bolivar. The department then verified the weight, confirming it broke the state record.

According to the department, the fish is the third state record smasher caught in 2022.

Although Stillings froze and filleted the fish to eat, he told the department that he plans to make a model.

"For those who ask where I caught it, right in the mouth," he said.

In Missouri, the state record is set considering two categories. There are state records for using a pole and line. Then, there are state records set using alternative methods, such as a trotline. Other methods considered in this category include a throwline, a limb line, a bank line, a jug line, a gig, a bow, a crossbow, underwater spearfishing, snagging, snaring, grabbing, or atlatl, the department said.

The last pole and line winner was Carlin Allison, who caught a fish in 2021 that weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces.

Walleye fish—also known as yellow pike or yellow pickerel— live in freshwater throughout most of the Northern U.S and Canada. The fish can grow up to 2 feet long, and in rare cases, weigh up to 20 pounds.

Big fish
Stillings pictured with the state record smashing fish. It weighed 7-pound, 8-ounces. MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION