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Dokken: Minnesota teen catches biggest muskie of 2022 in Muskies Inc.’s Youth Division

Noah Moss of Aitkin, Minnesota, caught the 54-inch muskie Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, on Lake Plantagenet near Bemidji.

Noah 54 photo 1.jpg
Noah Moss, 13, of Aitkin, Minnesota, landed this 54-inch muskie Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, on Lake Plantagenet near Bemidji. He'd landed a 51¾-inch muskie the previous morning. Noah's 54-inch muskie won the Youth Division in Muskies Inc.'s listing of big fish entries for 2022.
Contributed/Jordan Moss

Brad Dokken
Brad Dokken

AITKIN, Minn. – When 13-year-old Noah Moss of Aitkin landed a 54-inch muskie Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, on Lake Plantagenet near Bemidji, he suddenly found himself leading the Youth Division in Muskies Inc.’s North American big fish of the year listings for anglers younger than 17.

Besides the prestige of landing and releasing the largest muskie of the year anywhere in North America, the winner of the Youth Division receives a free graphite replica of the trophy fish.

The competition continued through Dec. 31, as it does every year, which meant Noah had to wait more than four months to find out whether his big muskie indeed would win the Youth Division or if another young angler would catch an even longer fish.

The agonizing wait ended last week, when the Aitkin eighth-grader received word from Muskies Inc. that his 54-inch muskie was indeed the Youth Division winner, topping the second-place finisher by 1 inch. The big muskie also won the local Brainerd Lakes Muskies Inc. Chapter’s big fish honor. And since that award also includes a free graphite mount, Noah is getting a replica of the 51¾-inch Plantagenet muskie he caught the day before landing the 54-incher.


That was the second-largest muskie recorded in the Brainerd Lakes Muskies Inc. Chapter’s big fish contest.

Noah’s dad, Jordan Moss, called Tuesday to share the big news of his son’s muskie award.

Or, in this case, two muskie awards.

Titled “Mink Sink, Swim on Burbot Catch,” the 1954 article featured commercial fishermen who were netting the “voracious predatory monsters” through the ice on Lake of the Woods for use as mink food.

“We’re getting them both mounted,” Jordan Moss said. “Our chapter’s going to cover the expense for the second one. Both fish ended up being the biggest two fish (in the local chapter), so we’re going to do them together on a mount on a driftwood plaque, and then they’re going to put some scenery behind it.”

As reported on the Herald website Aug. 26 and in print the next day, Noah landed and released the 51¾-inch muskie about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, during a family vacation to Balsam Beach Resort on Lake Plantagenet.

Any way 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 and released the 54-inch “mega-monster,” as Jordan Moss called it. Noah was fishing with his great uncle, Dave Eichelberger of Champaign, Ill., on both occasions.

“The fish came up, kind of laid on its side out of the water, and I looked at it, and I’m like, ‘Holy crap, that fish is bigger than the last one,’” Eichelberger told the Herald in August. “I think I got more nervous than Noah did because I saw how big it was.


“Fortunately, he brought the fish up to the boat, and I made a stab with the net and he swam right in it. The rest of it was history.”

And, in this case, historic. As in biggest-Youth-Division-muskie-of-the-year historic.

“He’s a pretty lucky little rascal, that’s for sure,” Jordan Moss said. “He had quite the fishing last year.”

When freeze-up arrived across Canada and the northern U.S., the odds that Noah’s 54-inch muskie would top the Youth Division were in his favor since muskies generally aren’t active through the ice.

“He was champing at the bit for like the whole month of December,” Jordan Moss said. “He was like, ‘Well, Dad, if no one can fish, don’t they decide now?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, buddy, somebody might go to Kentucky (or somewhere else in the South).’ He’s like, ‘There’s hardly any muskies down there.’

“I said, ‘This is the rules – they wait until the 31st’ ” of December, Jordan Moss said. “I kept telling him, there are some places that aren’t froze up yet. Some of the Great Lakes don’t freeze up, and if somebody caught one … you never know.”

He knows now.

Noah will be honored for his Youth Division-winning muskie at the Minnesota Muskie Expo, set for March 10-12 at Warner Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.


He’s always been an avid angler and is active on the Aitkin school’s fishing team, Jordan Moss says, but landing two monster muskies on consecutive days and winning the Youth Division in Muskies Inc.’s North American competition has taken that enthusiasm to a new level.

“It’s really got him hooked,” Jordan Moss said. “He’s always been really a fisherman and into it, but this is kind of the icing on the cake now. He’s pretty locked in and gung-ho.”

And yes, Jordan Moss says, another family vacation to Lake Plantagenet is in the works for this summer.

“Yeah, that’s for sure – we’ll be heading back,” he said. “That’s already in the books.”

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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