Dokken: Minnesota teen catches biggest Muskie of 2022 in Muskies Inc. youth division – Grand Forks Herald
AITKIN, Minn. – When 13-year-old Noah Moss of Aitkin landed a 54-inch Muskie on Lake Plantagenet near Bemidji on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, he suddenly found himself running the youth division north of Muskies Inc. America’s Big Fish of the Year list for anglers under 17.
In addition to the prestige of landing and releasing the year’s largest Muskfish anywhere in North America, the winner of the Youth Division will receive a free graphite replica of the trophy fish.
The competition lasted until December 31, as it does every year, which meant Noah had to wait more than four months to find out if his big Muskie would actually win the junior division or if another young angler would catch an even longer fish.
The agonizing wait ended last week when Muskies Inc.’s Aitkin eighth grader received word that his 54-inch Muskie was indeed the Youth Division winner, beating the runner-up by 1 inch. The big Muskie also won the big fish honor from the local Brainerd Lakes Muskies Inc. Chapter. And since that award includes a free graphite mount, Noah will receive a replica of the 51¾” Plantagenet Muskie he caught the day before the 54″ landed.
This was the second largest musk recorded in the Brainerd Lakes Muskies Inc. Chapter’s Big Fish contest.
Noah’s father, Jordan Moss, called Tuesday to share the big news about his son’s Muskie award.
Or, in this case, two Muskie awards.
“We have them both assembled,” Jordan Moss said. “Our chapter will pay for the second. Both fish ended up being the biggest two fish (in the local), so we’re going to do them together on a mount on a driftwood board, and then they’re going to put some backdrop behind it.”
As reported on the Herald website on August 26 and in print the next day, Noah landed and released the 51¾-inch Muskie around 8 a.m. Tuesday, August 16 while on a family vacation at Balsam Beach Resort on the Lake Plantage net free.
However you measure it, a muskie longer than 50 inches is a trophy — especially when a 13-year-old angler catches it.
The next morning, Noah caught the 54-inch “mega-monster,” as Jordan Moss called it, and released it. Noah fished on both occasions with his great uncle Dave Eichelberger of Champaign, Illinois.
“The fish came up, kind of on its side out of the water, and I looked at it and I was like, ‘Holy shit, this fish is bigger than the last one,'” Eichelberger told the Herald in August. “I think I got more nervous than Noah because I saw how big it was.
“Luckily he brought the fish to the boat and I hooked the net and he swam right in it. The rest was history.”
And in this case historical. As in the history of the biggest youth league Muskie of the Year.
“He’s a pretty happy little rascal, that’s for sure,” said Jordan Moss. “Last year he had quite a bit of fishing.”
As freezes set in across Canada and the northern United States, the odds that Noah’s 54-inch Muskie would lead the junior class were in his favor since Muskies are not generally active through the ice.
“He struggled at the top for most of December,” said Jordan Moss. “He said, ‘Well, Dad, if nobody can fish, don’t they decide now?’ And I thought, ‘Well, mate, maybe someone’s going to Kentucky (or somewhere down south).’ He says: ‘There are hardly any musks down there.’
“I said, ‘Those are the rules — they wait until December 31,'” Jordan Moss said. “I kept telling him that there are some places that haven’t frozen over yet. Some of the Great Lakes don’t freeze over, and if someone catches one…you never know.”
He knows now.
Noah will be honored for his Youth Division winner at the Minnesota Muskie Expo being held March 10-12 at the Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.
He’s always been an avid angler and is active on the Aitkin School’s fishing team, says Jordan Moss, but landing two Monster Muskies on back-to-back days and winning the Youth Division in Muskies Inc.’s North American competition put that enthusiasm on one raised to a new level.
“It really got him hooked,” Jordan Moss said. “He’s always been a true angler and a keen enthusiast, but now that’s kind of the icing on the cake. He’s pretty caged and gung-ho.”
And yes, says Jordan Moss, another Lake Plantagenet family vacation is in the works for this summer.
“Yes, that’s for sure – we’re going back,” he said. “It’s already in the books.”