Fly fisherman ‘stunned’ at the size of his cutthroat trout record

A fly fisherman in Idaho thought he snagged bottom until the line started moving, indicating a hooked a fish.

Daniel Whitesitt was fishing with a friend in a remote area on the Clark Fork River in Idaho on April 13 when he hooked up, as reported by Outdoor Life.

“We’d only caught one trout that morning, so it was pretty slow,” Whitesitt told Outdoor Life. “But about 9 a.m. I waded out to the head of a pool just below a riffle and made a long cast. I was [fishing] a large, gray stonefly nymph below an indicator.”

When the indicator went down, Whitesitt set the hook and “fought the fish deep for a couple minutes,” and when it jumped, he thought it was a rainbow.

He called Caleb Bravard over to help land the fish. When the fish was netted, the anglers noticed the red slash under its jaw, indicating it was a cutthroat trout.

“I was stunned that it was a cutthroat because of its size,” Whitesitt told Outdoor Life. “I thought it might be a state length record, which I believed was 24 inches long. When we carefully measured it and photographed the fish, sure enough, it was 25 inches.”

Whitesitt submitted documentation of his released catch to the Idaho Fish and Game, and the agency verified it has a catch-and-release state record for Westslope cutthroat trout, the IFG reported Wednesday.

The old record of 24 inches was set by Madison Nackos in 2021 from nearby Priest Lake.

From the IFG:

Westslope Cutthroat Trout are found in rivers (and some lakes) primarily throughout central and northern Idaho. They rarely exceed 20 inches, making this an exceptional catch.  Cutthroat Trout are Idaho’s “state fish,” and the Westslope Cutthroat Trout is one of three subspecies native to the state, along with the Bonneville and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.

Whitesitt told Outdoor Life he guessed the fish weighed 6 or 7 pounds, adding that he is likely to have a replica mount made because of its beauty.

“Its memory will never fade,” Whitesitt told Outdoor life.

Photos courtesy of the Idaho Fish and Game and Daniel Whitesitt.

Story originally appeared on For The Win