On April 8, an Oregon angler landed what might need been a record-breaking bull trout. In accordance with the Oregon Division of Fish & Widlife (ODFW), Ryan Mejaski caught the trout whereas fishing on the Deschutes arm of Lake Billy Chinook. He measured it, weighed it, took a number of photographs, after which let it go.

Mejaski and his buddy Joe Wilhite have been fishing for land-locked kokanee on the reservoir with little success. After altering spots, they observed a gaggle of small kokanee rising. Mejaski forged to the surfacing salmon and let his secret lure sink about 5 toes when his medium-lightweight rod doubled over and almost snapped.

His reel screamed, and he adjusted the drag to let the monster run. In the meantime, Wilhite pursued the fish with the boat, afraid that the monster would strip out all of Mejaski’s line or snap the 6-pound take a look at he was utilizing. 

Inside ten minutes, Mejaski guided the huge bull trout into the online. The anglers measured it at 33.5 inches lengthy with a 26-inch girth. They tried to weigh it on Whilhite’s web scale, which maxed out at 25 kilos, however the fish despatched the dimensions over its restrict. 

After releasing the once-in-a-lifetime bull trout, the excited fishing companions conjectured about its huge dimension. They thought it might need been a state file, possibly even a world file. Mejaski later advised the ODFW officers that he thought the fish may have weighed as much as 30 kilos.    

“I’m a little bit bummed out we didn’t maintain it so we may get the official file, however it was the correct factor to do on the time,” Mejaski stated. “Folks have been completely satisfied about us letting it go, however it will be actually cool to have a file fish.”

The Fish Lived to Spawn One other Day

If Wilhite’s scale was correct, the fish simply topped the present state file, a bull trout caught from Lake Billy Chinook in 1989 that weighed 23 kilos, 2 ounces. The world file bull trout weighed 32 kilos. It was caught in Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille in 1949 by an angler named Nelson Higgins. Clearly, Mejaski was not less than flirting with that venerable benchmark.

For a file to be official, a 3rd get together should weigh the fish utilizing licensed scales. In Mejarski’s case, that may have meant killing his catch. He opted to launch the fish with hopes that it will spawn and maybe develop even greater. “Throughout our bull trout spawning floor surveys, we’ve seen an uptick in numbers in recent times,” stated Deschutes District Fish Biologist Jerry George. “That has to do with an abundance of kokanee as a meals supply and plenty of clear, chilly water from the Metolius River and its tributaries that present for glorious spawning and rearing habitat.”

Associated: West Virginia Man Catches State File “Golden Rainbow Trout”

Bull trout populations have declined precipitously through the years on account of habitat degradation, interruptions in migration routes, and competitors from non-native species like brown and rainbow trout. In 1999, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened all through the conterminous United States underneath the Endangered Species Listing.

“Lake Billy Chinook is a particular fishery the place we will enable anglers to not solely goal, however harvest, a smaller variety of bull trout,” George stated. “The truth that Ryan launched the fish to spawn once more, to be caught once more is superior.”

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