Tom Volk's walleye weighed nearly 17 pounds (7.7kg) and stretched more than 76cm from nose to tail fin. It was the kind of fish that anglers spend decades seeking, the kind they almost never catch, the kind that ends up mounted in trophy rooms.

"I knew that I had just caught the state-record walleye," said Volk, 41, who serves as a city councilman in North Dakota and works in drug prevention for the state government. "It was a dream of mine."

But Volk does not have the state record. Instead, he has a written warning from the North Dakota Game

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