Brad Sollars at first thought he had snagged some weeds, but 15 minutes later, he was pulling up a 40 pound salmon.

40-pound Chinook Is The Biggest Fish From Lake Michigan This Summer

Sollars, who hails from East Bethel MN, hauled in the trophy fish just off Algoma WI last Sunday, July 31. It weighed 40.44 pounds, measured 44 inches, with a girth of 28.5 inches.

In a Facebook post by Kinn's Sport Fishing, Sollars told of the battle to haul in the massive fish, which so far is the biggest documented catch of the summer on Lake Michigan.

"It was funny," Sollars said. "At first I didn't feel anything. It was just heavy, and I told Bill and Carter that it must be weeds (canal grass that floats down from Sturgeon Bay). But then it took off on a long run. It almost spooled us."
The battle lasted about 15 minutes, and Zimmerman netted the giant on his first attempt. Before it lost battery power, a boat scale bounced between 39 and 40.2 pounds. About four hours later, a scale certified earlier this month by Valley Scale Service in Green Bay officially recorded it at 40.40 pounds.

The chinook salmon was the biggest since 1994 caught in Wisconsin waters, and the largest since a Michigan man nailed a 47 pounder off Ludington last summer. That is a Great Lakes and Lake Michigan all time record.

Bigger Salmon Have Been Caught Since Wisconsin Quit Stocking Them

Overall, bigger salmon have been netted since the 2012 ban on stocking the fish into the system, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Yahoo:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies cut chinook stocking about a decade ago in response to concerns about U.S. Geological Survey reports of a declining biomass of alewives in the lake. Alewives are the primary food source for chinook.

While controversial among many in the fishing community, the moves appeared to help alewives stabilize and perhaps increase.

Many point to the recent catches of very large salmon as evidence the fishery has ample forage available for predator fish.

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