Baudette, Minn. – Perry Peterson, a one-time Minnesota resident, had grown somewhat weary of dealing with the doubters. Two years ago, while fishing Monument Bay on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods, Peterson first saw it – an “albino” muskie.
Twice he saw it in 2014. The following year, during one of his fishing trips from his current home in Scottsdale, Ariz., to a location where he’s fished for two and a half decades, he saw the fish twice again. This year, he saw the fish again, in the same general location he’d seen it four times the past two years. During the first 2016 sighting, it followed a lure to Peterson’s boat. The second time – finally – the fish bit.
Getting glimpses of the muskie over the years hadn’t exactly proved challenging.
“It was so easy to see,” Peterson said. “It was almost like it glowed in the dark. It looked like a birch log.”
The rare fish was caught June 23 in the same general location where Peterson and friend Paul Jensen – one of the few believers – had seen the fish for the first time two years ago. It was just under 41 inches long, Peterson said, and appeared to be in good health.
This year, too, the rest of the fishing gang finally got to see the ghost fish Peterson had encountered on several occasions.
The first such meeting this season happened about 100 yards down the shoreline from where the fish was spotted the previous year. Once again, though, the fish merely followed. And it not only evaded capture, but also Peterson’s camera. Thus, no photographic evidence of the oddity. It wasn’t the first time the fish had caused the angler frustration in not being able to record an image of the muskie.
“We were resigned to the fact that we’d probably never catch it, but hoped to get a photo,” he wrote in an email. “A couple days later, while casting over the same general area, we were burning spinnerbaits and spoons over and through the weeds and getting some explosive hits from pike and muskies. While doing this, the albino hit at the end of the cast, and it wasn’t until it was halfway to the boat that we realized it was ‘the fish.’
“Once we saw it, we were in panic mode, hoping not to lose it,” he wrote. “It got into the weeds and we thought we’d lost it before realizing it was just buried (in the vegetation).”
A couple photos were taken once the fish was in the boat, then it was released.
It wasn’t too long before Peterson’s group of fishing buddies became converts. “I made sure everybody got a copy of the picture,” he said.
Peterson said that on the occasions he has seen the fish that it appeared to “act weird.” But on the other hand, he added, perhaps all muskies behaved that way – but their actions couldn’t be seen as clearly as those of the white fish.
Peterson said he’s not sure the fish is a true albino specimen, and that he’s received feedback from other fishermen regarding their thoughts on the matter, and opinions varied. Regardless, the fish was a trophy like none other, the former White Bear Lake resident said.
“I’ve caught muskies to 54.5 inches, but I’ve never been as thrilled as (I was when) finally catching this one,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have another encounter in future trips or someone will post a picture after catching it again.”