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Pecatonica gives up 2nd state record Walleye

James Zimmerman with a new Illinois state record walleye.  Photo courtesy IL DNR

James Zimmerman with a new Illinois state record walleye. Photo courtesy IL DNR

It wasn’t that long ago when there was a lot of talk about a new state record walleye being caught. On January 7th of this year, 15 year old Nick Tassoni of Rockford reeled in a 14 pound, 12 ounce walleye from the Pecatonica River between Rockton and Harrison in Winnebago County.

The last state record walleye caught here in Illinois was a 14-pounder that came from the Kankakee River in 1961. The young Tassoni's record fish didn't hold for very long in the books. Not even long enough to get into print in a DNR rules and regulations book.

The Pecatonica River gave up its second state record fish in two months time.

James Zimmerman of Beloit, Wisconsin was on the same river on March 11 and caught a 15.08 pound walleye.

The fish was measured at 31 and 1/2 inches with a girth of 20 and 3/8 inches. IDNR Division of Fisheries Regional Administrator Dan Sallee certified the new record walleye on March 12.

Zimmerman caught the fish on a 1/8 ounce Northland Tackle Fire-Ball jig.

It was great that a young angler like Nick Tassoni was able to take credit for catching a State Record fish. But what’s more exciting is that the same river gave up a second one in such a short period of time.

Three months ago many people could be asked what would be the best walleye waters here in Illinois. The answer would probably be the Kankakee or Illinois River, the northern lakes of the Fox Chain or maybe Lake Shelbyville. It would be a good bet that if many anglers were asked about the Pecatonica River, they’d say, “Never heard of it.”

Well that’s not the case now.

The Pecatonica River is not a big river by any means. It’s actually quite small. But now, with having two state record fish being caught there, this could be one very busy body of water.

Spring is here. It’s time to get out and go fishing.

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