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‘Fish of a lifetime’: Woman didn't let this Apostle Islands lake trout get away

Charlene Lind of Duluth caught this 31-pound lake trout while fishing with her husband, Paul Lind, in the Apostle Islands aboard their boat, the Triplelindy. (Photo by Paul Lind)

When a fish hit one of the lines Paul and Charlene Lind were trolling Aug. 14 in the Apostle Islands, Charlene was gracious. She let Paul take that fish.

“I said, ‘I’m going to take the next one because the next one is going to be bigger,’ ” Charlene said.

She was right about that.

Paul was playing the first fish when another fish hit. Charlene grabbed that rod and was immediately locked in a battle with a lake trout that would weigh 31 pounds and stretch 43 inches.

The Linds, from Duluth, have been fishing Lake Superior for 15 or 20 years, Paul said. He’s made about 10 trips to Isle Royale for lake trout. He has caught lake trout of 30 and 31 pounds there, he said.

This fish had no intention of giving up easily.

“He took 450 feet of line like nobody’s business,” Paul said. “I landed my fish. We had to go chase hers down. Otherwise, they go forever.”

So, Paul put the boat in reverse and began pursuing the big laker.

“I was pretty nervous,” Charlene said. “I’ve had some other sizeable fish on the line before that I’ve lost. I was really nervous about doing the right thing.”

Paul wasn’t making it any easier.

“He was like, ‘This is the fish of a lifetime!’ ” Charlene said.

And it was.

“For about 15 minutes, I couldn’t do anything,” Charlene said. “He just kept taking line.”

Paul kept busy driving the boat, getting the landing net ready and shooting video of Charlene.

“He said, ‘You better make the call. Are you going to mount this fish?’ ” Charlene said. “I said, ‘Hold on. Let’s get it in the boat first.’ ”

After a 20- to 25-minute fight, Charlene got the fish close and Paul netted it. She thought long and hard about releasing it but ultimately decided to keep it. Paul already had mounted one of his big lake trout, but there’s room for this one in the family room, Charlene said.

So, they began documenting the catch.

“He kept taking pictures and videos,” Charlene said. “I could barely hold it up. I was telling him, ‘I’m going to drop it.’ Thank God I’ve been going the gym a little bit this summer.”

The fish was officially weighed at 31 pounds at Bowe Taxidermy, Charlene said.

Paul Lind was asked what kind of lure the big lake trout hit.

“Spoon,” he said.

Any particular color pattern?

“Just a spoon,” he said.