Val Immel stands in front of the mount of the world’s largest tiger muskie at his Minnow Bucket bait shop near Lac Vieux Desert in the town of Phelps.
Val Immel stands in front of the mount of the world’s largest tiger muskie at his Minnow Bucket bait shop near Lac Vieux Desert in the town of Phelps.
On July 17, 1919, the world’s largest tiger muskie was caught in Vilas County and that muskie catch is now celebrating 100 years.

John Knobla caught the 54 1⁄4-inch tiger muskie on Lac Vieux Desert, located on the Wisconsin-Michigan border be­tween Land O’ Lakes and Phelps. It weighed 51 pounds and three ounces.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the tiger muskie is the biggest on record.

The biggest muskellunge ever caught was 68 pounds and 631⁄2 inches long. It was caught on the Chippewa Flowage in Sawyer County on Oct. 10, 1949.

The tiger muskie is a hybrid offspring of a true muskie and a northern pike.

The muskie now resides at the Minnow Bucket bait shop in Phelps. Val Immel is the owner of the shop. 

“This is the world’s biggest tiger muskie,” said Immel, “I bought the fish from a neighbor who was moving to Texas and I have had it ever since.”

The muskie was caught on Lac Vieux Desert and was then taken to a taxidermist to be mounted. Fifteen years later it was redone by Ron Lax Taxidermy in Conover.

In addition to owning the world’s largest tiger muskie, Immel also owns the world’s fourth- and fifth-largest tiger muskies as well. 

His shop, at the intersection of Highway E and West Shore Road, is plastered with giant catches that have been bought or gifted over the years.