It looks like a big buffalo was caught on my home waters of Lake Koshkonong. Here is the story:
CHECK OUT THIS WORLD RECORD ON KOSH.
World-record fish pulled from Lake Koshkonong
(Published Tuesday, March 23, 2004 10:00:44 AM CST)
By Ken Veloskey/Gazette Staff
Dave Tilton shows off the 73-pound, 1-ounce big mouth buffalo head fish he
caught while walleye fishing in Lake Koshkonong. Al Hoch/Gazette Staff
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——————————————————————————– Janesville’s Dave
Tilton is the proud author of a 73-pound, 1-ounce world-record fish story.
Tilton, an avid fisher, was standing in chest waders, jigging for walleye off Lake
Koshkonong’s north shore Monday around noon.
“I like to fish (the north shore area) this time of year, especially with the water
high,” Tilton said.
Tilton had been fishing about 45 minutes with his uncle, Lloyd Helgestad,
when the fish came calling.
“It was a tap,” Tilton said, describing the hit he felt on his jig and minnow. “I
set the hook, and it was just dead weight.”
Tilton, who was using eight-pound test line, said the fish “was pretty
After a struggle of between 30 and 45 minutes, Tilton and his uncle beached
the worn-out catch.
“I knew it was a buffalo head,” Tilton said. “I knew it was a big one.”
Before the buffalo fish, Tilton’s biggest catch was a 25-pound barracuda he
hooked in Florida. He has mounted two 10-pound walleyes plus a 7-pound,
3-ounce brook trout.
Tilton, who graduated from Milton High School in 1996, has pulled his share of
rough fish out of Koshkonong. The difference with this giant was that it had a
sagging, swollen belly full of eggs that were slowly spilling on the ground.
After throwing the leaking monster into the back of his pickup truck, Tilton
headed to a Milton bait shop.
The fish weighed 75 pounds on the shop’s regular scale. Tilton’s next stop was
home to call the Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR advised Tilton to have the fish weighed on a registered scale. He
hopped in his truck and drove to Ringhand’s Meat Market in Evansville, where
the fish’s official weight was declared at 73 pounds, 1 ounce.
His next stop was the DNR station in Janesville.
“It’s rare to catch big mouth buffalo head with a rod and reel,” said DNR
fisheries biologist Al Byla.
Byla examined Tilton’s catch and determined it had world-record possibilities.
He called DNR fish expert Scott Stewart for advice on procedures to confirm
the fish as a record.
The state record for big mouth buffalo is 54 pounds, while the world record is
a 70-pounder caught in Louisiana.
Buffalo head is a native fish, unlike carp, which is an exotic introduced to North
Byla called the International Fishing Hall of Fame to inquire about how to
officially verify Tilton’s catch.
“They said you had to have the brand name and number for the scale used to
weigh the fish,” Byla said. “Setting a world record is a big deal, a very big deal.”
Byla was amazed at the quantity of eggs in the fish.
“It must have had 15 pounds of eggs,” Byla said. “It was squirting eggs like
The fish measured 38 inches long. Byla said most larger buffalo are closer to 50
“This fish was very pregnant,” he said.
The fish has lost its eggs, and its belly is now flat. It is on ice at Tilton’s home.
Tilton will receive paperwork from the International Fish Hall of Fame to register
Meanwhile, Byla is slated to slice the fish open today to complete its
“When I saw the fish, there was nothing to indicate (its weight was altered),”
Byla said. “Its belly moved naturally.”
And it was very big.
“We follow commercial fishing, and we see some big honkers, but nothing like
this,” Byla said.
As for Tilton, the thought of having his name on a world record is a thrill.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “I wish it could have been a muskie or a walleye