SEATTLE -- Another unusual fish has turned up in an angler's catch on Lake Washington.
Shawn McConville of Renton, Wash., took advantage of a nice, sunny day Jan. 18 to fish with his family for bass on a lake that hosts about 30 different species of fish.
"I had caught three smallies (smallmouth bass) at Coleman Point (on the southeast end of Lake Washington) off a rock pile," said McConville, an avid bass angler and member of The Bass Federation.
Their fishing day started at 1 p.m., and just a short time later McConville hooked what he figured was his fourth bass.
"At first I thought I had hooked another bass, and I was surprised when I saw the tips of the fins of the walleye about 10 to 15 feet down in the water. I said you've got to be kidding me."
McConville caught the 5.25 pound walleye on a football head jig with a Yamamoto 176 twin tail grub. The walleye was 22 inches long with a 15-inch girth.
"It was a healthy fish in decent condition, and it put up a good fight," said McConville, who decided to keep the walleye. "I knew it was a rare catch when I got it to the surface."
This isn't the first time a walleye has risen from the murky depths of Lake Washington.
Back on March 3, 2005, a University of Washington fisheries research gill-net boat sampling for cutthroat trout caught a walleye, most commonly found in Eastern Washington waters.
That male walleye was much smaller and measured 16 inches long and weighed 1.7 pounds. It was caught off Denny Park, which is just around the corner from Juanita Bay in Kirkland, Wash.
"As far as I know we had one confirmed walleye caught, and this would be the second one," said Steve Foley, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "We've heard of other walleyes caught off and on over the years."
The most likely scenario, Foley says, was that an angler would bring the walleyes back in a livewell from an Eastern Washington lake, and then dump them into Lake Washington.
"There is no legal introduction of walleye into Lake Washington," Foley said.