The Idaho Department of Fish and Game last week announced that a 31.25-inch rainbow trout caught by a visiting angler is a new state record.
The hefty trout, caught in late May by Wyoming’s Brett Jones at American Falls Reservoir, replaced the catch-and-release record of 30.5 inches, set in 2018.
But IDFG’s Facebook announcement generated mixed reactions. It seems that not everybody is a fan of catch-and-release records because they require only a measurement and don’t include the weight of the fish.
“Catch-and-release records are a joke,” one commenter wrote.
“They don’t mean jack,” another chimed in.
It’s worth noting that some comments were congratulatory – “Wow!” and “Awesome!” are two examples – and that catch-and-release record programs are designed to encourage conservation.
Because the fish must be released, they can be caught again at even larger sizes.
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In Jones’ case, he had to provide a photo of the ruler or tape showing the measurement of his trout from its snout to the end of its tail. He also had to include a photo of himself with the fish, and the name of at least one witness to the measurement and release.
One of the Facebook detractors claimed to have caught “at least three bigger than that.”
Perhaps. But Idaho has common rainbow trout – the type caught by Jones – and a faster-growing Gerrard strain of rainbow trout.
The certified weight record for Gerrard rainbow trout is 37 pounds. That fish was caught at Pend Oreille Lake in 1947. The Idaho catch-and-release record for Gerrard rainbow trout, also set at Pend Oreille Lake, is 36.5 inches.
The common rainbow trout certified weight record is 20 pounds. That fish, caught on the Snake River in 2009, measured 34.25 inches.
So it might not have been significantly heavier than the 31.25-inch trout released by Jones.
–Image showing Brett Jones and his record rainbow trout is courtesy of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game