Call it the record that got away.
A rainbow trout exceeding the current state record by at least 8 pounds caught in the North Fork of the Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho, last week won’t qualify as a new state record because of a regulation technicality. Larry Warren’s fish (pictured above) weighed in excess of 28 pounds, besting the standing record of 20-pounds, 2 ounces from 2009.
Warren told the Coeur d’Alene Press that he and his fishing partner knew the big bruiser was likely a record, and they did everything they could think of to qualify — but it still wasn’t enough. In the end, the angler’s main concern was to return the fish safely back into the river while inflicting minimal stress.
“I don’t want people to get the idea that my partner and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Warren, noting some reports of his catch made it sound like he wasn’t aware of its potential record quality.
“Fish that big are fragile, so we knew we had to get it back into the water as fast as we could,” he said.
The two men weighed the fish on a digital handheld scale and took measurements, finding the girth was 28.25 inches and length 32 inches. They then went to a local supermarket butcher to compare the digital scales used in the boat to the butcher’s scale, finding only 1/200 of a pound variance between the two.
“We got a signed letter from the butcher, so the scale was not the problem,” Warren told the local newspaper.
However, under state gamefish record regulations, there must be two witnesses to the catch, not including the angler. Unfortunately, Warren only had one witness. It also would have helped his case if his photo showed the fish on the handheld scale, indicating the weight.
“It was a stressful situation to be in,” the angler admitted. “The seconds were ticking against the fish’s life.”
In retrospect, Warren said he understands and respects the integrity of the Idaho fish record process, but he’s disappointed about the record that got away.
What do you think? Did the angler do the right thing by releasing the fish alive and unharmed? Please comment below.