Falls man selling prized lake trout

International Falls resident Earl Palmquist is selling the world’s largest lake trout—a 40-pound behemoth he caught near Atikokan 20 years ago—on eBay.
It’s not easy for him to sell it.
“I’m real proud of it, you know?” he laughed yesterday. “I’ve been fishing for a long time. I’ve fished lake trout for many, many years.”
However, at 80 years old, Palmquist now wants to look after his family—specifically two grandsons, one of whom is in college and another who’s shortly on the way—as well as fix two bad knees the war veteran said are getting to him.
The fish currently is fetching a price around $1,000 (U.S.)
“I think I got a pretty good reason for wanting to sell it,” said Palmquist. “I want to see them kids get a good education, and it costs money.”
The 40-pounder was caught while Palmquist was ice-fishing on Clearwater West, about 50 km northeast of Atikokan, on Feb. 20, 1987.
Palmquist still beams when asked about catching the trout—recalling the day as easily as if he had caught the fish over the weekend.
“It was something you don’t see very often. It took about 20 minutes to get it in,” he said. “Another thing that happened, it made two big long runs on and on the second run, I could see the end of the spool.”
He was sure he would lose the fish, but sure enough, he landed the lunker. Palmquist said he had the stinger hook he used to thank.
“He must’ve been pretty impressed [with the hook] because he swallowed the whole thing,” Palmquist chuckled. “There’s no way he would’ve gotten away.”
Of course, the trout proved too big to be pulled up through the hole, so Palmquist and his partner had to make quick work with their auger to get it up on the ice.
Weighing it proved difficult, too, as the first scale they used topped out at 30 pounds. The pair eventually got the trout to game wardens in Atikokan, who were astounded at its sheer size.
They told him had he got into town a little quicker than the half-hour it took, the fish probably would have had a few more pounds that it lost to dehydration.
Dorsal scale samples were taken to pin down an age on the fish, which set Palmquist up for yet another surprise.
“It took about, God, it must’ve been over a year, finally got a letter back from wherever they did [the test] and the fish [was] 23 years old.”
The eBay auction, which ends this Saturday (June 16), listed the item as not having its reserve bid met yet—meaning it cannot sell until the bidding hits an undisclosed amount.
Palmquist admitted he doesn’t know what he expects the fish to sell for.
“I don’t have any idea. I really don’t know,” he said. “They started out the bidding at $500 but—maybe I’m asking too much—but I’m figuring it could be worth quite a few thousand dollars.
“It just depends on who might be interested in it.”
Palmquist doesn’t fish for lake trout like he used to, but still heads to Rainy Lake—mostly the U.S. side nowadays—and fishes for walleye and northern pike every now and then.
As for selling a treasure like his big trout, Palmquist said he has no regrets.
“I’ve been asked now how I feel about selling it and I still have the world record,” he remarked. “That’s something no one can take away.”