Michigan teen catches near 48-pound Chinook salmon, breaks 43-year-old state record

Previous record set in 1978 in Kent County

Posing with the new state-record Chinook salmon, caught Aug. 7, 2021, are Capt. Bobby Sullivan of Icebreaker Charters; Luis Ricardo Hernandez Martinez, of Ortonville, who caught the fish; Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and Scott Heintzelman, the DNR's Central Lake Michigan Management Unit supervisor. (NOTE: The scale pictured in this photo is from a local bait shop; the weight shown here is not the state-record weight. The official weight, 47.86 pounds, was measured on a certified scale by the DNR fisheries biologist.) (Michigan DNR)

LUDINGTON, Mich. – Luis Martinez, of Ortonville, was troll fishing on Lake Michigan near Ludington Saturday when he caught a Chinook salmon weighing nearly 48 pounds.

At 47.86 pounds and measuring 47.5 inches, it broke the state’s largest Chinook salmon record, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Officials said it was the 19-year-old’s first fishing expedition for salmon.

The previous record was set in 1978 when Ray Essex, of Grand Rapids, caught a Chinook salmon weighing at 46.06 pounds, measuring 43.5 inches from the Grand River in Kent County.

Martinez was fishing with Capt. Bobby Sullivan of Icebreaker Charters.

“I never expected a catch like this would happen,” Martinez said. “It’s possible for anyone if I can do it. I would like to extend a great ‘Thank you’ to Capt. Bobby, as it was he who made this catch possible for me.”

“Luis did an amazing job, executing perfectly everything I asked him to do in order to bring this fish in,” said Sullivan.

The new record was verified by Jay Wesley, DNR Lake Michigan Basin coordinator, and Scott Heintzelman, DNR Central Lake Michigan Management Unit supervisor.

Click here to view the list of Michigan state fish records by species as of August 2021.

More: Michigan news

Teen breaks Michigan salmon record

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.