After a 20-minute fight with a “big ole fish” on the end of his line, Owen Schaad said knew he was about to land something special.
Schaad said he was “jumping up and down” with excitement when he realized he’d caught a huge tiger trout from Viva Naughton Reservoir near Kemmerer, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
11-Year-Old Record Broken
After official measurements, the bruiser of a fish came in at 11.93 pounds, 31 inches in length and a girth of 16.5 inches, breaking a record for the species that had been in place since 2012.
Previous statewide trout records included a splake in 2011 and a 50-pound lake trout caught from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in 1995, which tied the 1983 state lake trout record.
Game and Fish didn’t state what day Schaad caught the new record tiger trout. Voice and text messages left for Schaad weren’t answered by publication time Tuesday.
Extremely Rare Catch
A fish biologist said Schaad’s catch is exceptionally rare.
“Fish need remarkable conditions to grow that big. As people catch those fish, it becomes less likely another fish with those conditions will be caught again anytime soon,” said Mark Smith, Game and Fish assistant fisheries management coordinator. “Popular sport fish records tend to become stagnant over time due to the unusual environmental conditions that are required to produce exceptional-sized fish.”
Schaad said it seemed like just another day of fishing, until the monster slammed into his hook.
“I was fishing for maybe about four hours,” Schaad stated in a Fish and Game account of his adventure. “Out of nowhere, I hook onto this big ol’ fish and I think it’s a brown trout. It took, maybe, 20 minutes to get it where I could see it. When I got it up to the bank and in the net and saw what it was I was all excited, jumping up and down.”
Schaad brought the fish home and called the local game warden before taking it to a grocery store — one of two places nearby with a certified scale, according to Game and Fish.
“It was probably the most exciting day of my life,” Schaad told Game and Fish.
Earlier this year, the state records were broken for both longnose and white sucker. One Riverton angler caught both along the same stretch of the Wind River.
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.