MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was the catch of a lifetime, but outgoing University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks is parting ways with his big fish. Bruininks is donating his trophy 17-pound, six-ounce walleye to the U’s Bell Museum of Natural History.

The walleye is just two ounces shy of the state record. Bruininks caught the lunker July 4, 1989 on Loon Lake along Northeastern Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail.

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Marty Moen is with the Bell Museum. He said the mount will be put to good use.

“It is very detailed and accurate, and that will be of great benefit to our educators as we show people (the walleye),” Moen said.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter Reports

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Bruininks has maintained the walleye would have been a state record had he gotten it to a scale sooner. Fish can rapidly lose weight once they’re caught.

The state record walleye was a 17-pound, eight-ounce fish caught on the Seagull River back in May of 1979.

Moen said showing off the fish is more than just showing off a lunker.

“There are people who love to fish including President Buininks, and they play a key role in conserving habitat and educating people about fisheries,” he said.

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The Bell Museum has roughly 85,000 visitors every year. Bruininks will officially donate the walleye to the museum Thursday.