GRAND FORKS -- TJ Harig of Campbell, Minn., had the kind of fishing trip most anglers only dream about during a recent two-day fishing excursion to Lake of the Woods.

Harig picks up the story:

“I had to share this story with you because I don’t think many people have experienced anything like it,” he writes. “ I have always taken pride in my fishing abilities. It’s what I love to do. What I experienced in two days of fishing may never happen again.

“I boated at least 60 fish over 25 inches – 12 of those were 28 to 28½ inches, and my two biggest were just over 29 inches.”

Fishing like that will spoil a person.

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Tale of the tape, er, measuring board: One of the 60 or so big walleyes TJ Harig of Campbell, Minn., caught and released during a memorable two days of fishing on Lake of the Woods. (Photo courtesy of TJ Harig)
Tale of the tape, er, measuring board: One of the 60 or so big walleyes TJ Harig of Campbell, Minn., caught and released during a memorable two days of fishing on Lake of the Woods. (Photo courtesy of TJ Harig)

“At one point I landed five fish over 27 inches in about 20 minutes,” Harig said. “I was all by myself, and I got to a point (where) I just quit measuring fish and stopped taking pictures so I could get a bait back in the water.”

While fishing alone on a vast body of water such as Lake of the Woods might seem odd to some, Harig says he tries to get out on the water three days a week, and it's usually by himself.

"That's not out of the norm for me," he said. "A friend of mine was supposed to come with and backed out at the last minute. His loss! And he is regretting that decision."

Without giving away too many details, Harig says he caught the walleyes on an orange jig and a shiner while fishing in 30 feet of water. There were plenty of “eater”-size walleyes, as well, he writes.

“In two days, the longest stretch without catching a fish was probably 10 minutes, so it was nonstop action,” Harig said. “One of those 29-inch fish had a 14-inch sauger in its mouth when I caught it!”

Harig says he attributes the quality of the fish he caught to the protected slot limit that requires anglers to release all walleyes from 19½ inches to 28 inches on Lake of the Woods while allowing one walleye longer than 28 inches to be kept for a trophy.

Different day, same kind of quality walleyes. TJ Harig with a 29-plus-inch walleye from Lake of the Woods. (Photo courtesy of TJ Harig)
Different day, same kind of quality walleyes. TJ Harig with a 29-plus-inch walleye from Lake of the Woods. (Photo courtesy of TJ Harig)

“The slot on Lake of the Woods is the best thing they could have done,” Harig writes. “I fish a lot of slot lakes, and I consistently catch big fish on them. I wish they would do that on more lakes.”