A Colorado man has caught a giant trout and it’s the third time the state record has been broken in 2022.
Matt Smiley, a tackle salesman from Lake City, Colorado, reeled in an eight-pound brown trout from Waterdog Lake on Oct. 8, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) press release.
The lake is in the Uncompahgre National Forest and Smiley reportedly caught the record-breaking certified brown trout near Hinsdale County.
Smiley’s trout measured 26.25 inches in length and 16 inches in girth, according to the CPW.
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“The experience of this catch was surreal and it took a couple of days to submerge,” Smiley told CPW. “This is a very special fish.”
Smiley said he usually releases the fish he catches and his decision to keep the brown trout was a difficult one. According to CPW, he plans to have the fish boarded.
“I’ve exposed so many over the years, but it was one of those deals where I made a quick decision and wanted to give this fish the recognition it deserves,” he told CPW.
The national record for brown trout has been broken three times in the past five months.
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Tim Daniel, a Granby angler, broke the brown trout record in May when he reeled in a 7.84-pound trout from Monarch Lake in Grand County that measured 23.25 inches by 15.375 inches in circumference, according to CPW.
Daniel’s catch broke the brown trout record of 7.63 pounds set in 1947 on Summit County’s Upper Cataract Lake.
The 75-year trout record “was the longest-standing fishing record in the state,” the CPW said.
Larry Vickers, a Lake City angler, caught a brown trout that reportedly weighed 8.22 pounds a week before Smiley, but he chose to skip Colorado’s record certification process so he could eat his catch rather than see how ” meat is wasted”. CPW reports.
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“Having tasted this water, I know the shoreline is full of scuds,” Dan Brauch, an aquatic biologist at CPW, said in a statement.
“I’m not too surprised that this fish came from this lake, but it’s a smaller body of water,” Baruch continued. “It’s not a lake that will endure a lot of use or fishing pressure and is difficult to access. To see two record fish from there in one week is a cool story.”
Brown trout are a species of freshwater fish in the char genus Salvelinus of the salmon family Salmonidae, according to FishBase, a global database of fish species.
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According to the CPW, the species was introduced to Colorado in 1872.
“It’s a beautifully colored fish with pink or red spots surrounded by blue halos on the sides and a distinctive marbled pattern over an olive green back,” the wildlife agency wrote in its press release. “Brown trout, native to the Northeastern United States, often grow to between 11 and 23 inches in length.”
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