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Two Harbors anglers catch nice lake trout after a long battle

Rick Ray of Two Harbors holds the 42-inch lake trout he caught Tuesday on Lake Superior near Two Harbors. He was trolling with Chris Lemke of Two Harbors aboard Lemke’s boat, the Gina Marie. The fish weighed about 27 pounds, Ray said. Chris Lemke photo

Rick Ray of Two Harbors already had reeled in a 6-pound lake trout on Tuesday, his biggest lake trout ever, so he was pretty happy.

But at midday, while trolling on Lake Superior, he and fishing partner Chris Lemke hooked one that made them both forget the 6-pounder. This one would measure 42 inches long and weigh 27 pounds.

When it hit, Lemke grabbed the rod on his boat, the Gina Marie, and handed it to Ray.

“It didn’t move for the first five minutes I held it,” said Ray, 54, who has been fishing for lake trout about four years.

The two men, who coach girls basketball together at Two Harbors High School, battled the fish for about 20 minutes, Ray said. Lemke pulled up the other three downrigger lines to avoid tangles. Ray fought the fish, which was a losing battle early on.

“I was cranking the reel, and there was nothing coming in,” Ray said.

Then the big fish made a run.

“He went and went and went,” Ray said.

Lemke turned the boat to keep up with the fish. He also netted it when the fight was over, but he needed help lifting the net into the boat.

“There was a high-five and a lot of screaming,” Ray said.

They caught the fish on a spoon that had splashes of purple, green, pink and silver, Lemke said.

Ray is having the fish mounted at Bowe Taxidermy in Duluth.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime fish,” he said.