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Record walleye catch commemorated at Rock Island
fishy story1
Rock Island State Park officials commemorated Bennie Buck Bryants record walleye catch from 1957 with a museum-quality replica of the original mounted fish. The copy will be on permanent display. Pictured, from left, are park manager Damon Graham, Bryant, and park ranger Jason E. Miller, who is holding the replica. The picture was taken by park ranger Nathaniel Garrison just above the location where the fish was caught.
On a bitter cold January morning in 1957, Bennie “Buck” Bryant set a new U.S. record when he landed a massive 21-pound, 4-ounce walleye while fishing with a friend at a little-known sand beach on the upper reaches of Center Hill Lake. That beach and the 883 acres surrounding it would, a few years later, become the beginnings of an oft-utilized and much-beloved public resource with official establishment of Rock Island State Park in 1969. For decades, a common skin mount of the famous fish had periodically been loaned to the park by the Bryant family, where visitors from around the country would gawk at its unbelievable size and inquire about the fish and the story behind it.