A Colorado man caught a huge 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, nine-ounce brook trout from Waterdog Lake on Oct. 8, according to a press release issued by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).
The lake is located in Uncompahgre National Forest and Smiley reportedly caught the certified record brook trout near Hinsdale County.
Smiley’s trout measured 26.25 inches in length and 16 inches in girth, according to the CPW.
“The experience of this catch has been surreal, and it took a few days to soak in,” Smiley told the CPW. “It’s a really special fish.”
Smiley said he usually releases the fish he catches and his decision to keep the brook trout was a tough one. He’s planning to have the fish mounted, according to the CPW.
“I’ve released 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 the CPW.
The state brook trout record has been broken three times in the last five months.
Tim Daniel, an angler from Granby, broke the brook trout record in May when he reeled in a 7.84-pound trout from Monarch Lake in Grand County, which measured 23.25 inches with a girth of 15.375 inches, according to the CPW.
Daniel’s catch broke the 7.63-pound brook trout record that was established in 1947 at Summit County’s Upper Cataract Lake.
The 75-year trout record “had been the longest-standing fishing record in the state,” the CPW said.
Larry Vickers, an angler from Lake City, caught a brook trout that reportedly weighed 8.22 pounds a week before Smiley, but he opted to skip Colorado’s record certification process, so he could eat his catch rather than seeing “meat go to waste,” the CPW reported.
“Having sampled that water, I know the shoreline is loaded with scuds,” Dan Brauch, an aquatic biologist at the CPW, said in a statement.
“I am not too surprised this fish came from that lake, but it is a smaller body of water,” Baruch continued. “It’s not a lake that handles a lot of use or fishing pressure and is difficult to access. Seeing two record fish in one week caught from there, it’s a cool story.”
Brook trout are a species of freshwater fish in the char genus Salvelinus of the salmon family Salmonidae, according to FishBase, a global fish species database.
The species was reported introduced to Colorado in 1872, according to the CPW.
“It is a beautifully colored fish with pink or red spots surrounded by blue halos along the sides and a distinctive marbled pattern over an olive-green back,” the wildlife agency wrote in its news release. “Brook trout, which are native to Northeastern United States, often grow anywhere from 11 to 23 inches in length.”