Lunker Kamloops Trout Landed
By: AJ’s Dad
In early May of 2009, my brother Bill and I set out for a day of fishing at Hayden Lake in North Idaho. Although I’m a resident of Washington, I live near the Idaho border and have spent a large portion of the last 20 years fishing in both states. My favorite species to target is the Northern Pike but on this day, smallmouth were on the menu.
I really wasn’t in the mood for fishing. It had been less than a year since my son had passed away and going out fishing didn’t really seem like the right thing to do. My son AJ had been my hunting and fishing partner for his entire short 19 year life. My brother Bill had convinced me that fishing would be good for me. He knew it was my passion and he suggested that it would be good for me to get out of the house for the day.
The day didn’t actually start out as we had planned. I had forgotten to plug in the trolling motor battery and luckily realized it before we left. I hooked up the charger and we came in for some coffee while it charged up a little. After a couple of hours we decided to just go give it a try.
As we were driving down the block, I heard a strange noise. We stopped and found that the wheel bearing on the drivers side was toast. We put the boat back in the driveway and headed to the local parts store. We had to sit there for a half hour and wait for them to open.
We got back home, changed the wheel bearing and headed for the lake. We got to the lake at about 10:30 am. And started down one of my favorite smallmouth stretches.
We had decided to give the fish a fighting chance that day and both pulled out the ultralights. There are a lot of smallies in Hayden but you have to weed out a lot of 1 and 2 pounders before you get to the 3 and 4’s. I grabbed AJ’s favorite ultralight rod, tied on a 2” pumpkinseed tube jig and started casting. My 5th cast of the day headed toward the shoreline corner of a dock. As I started working the bait, it got hung up. I leaned on the rod a little and it didn’t move. I thought my jig had gotten stuck on the docks anchoring cable, and I figured the day was going to continue as it had started, with more bad luck. I voiced my frustration to Bill and began applying more pressure to the line. By now you have probably guessed what was really going on. As I leaned on the rod, the rod leaned back, and started throbbing and line began to exit the spool. Bill and I both laughed as we finally decided this was no anchor line.
The fight with this fish was not what you would have imagined. The 6 pound test only got a workout for 2 or 3 minutes. The fish started out thinking he needed to go back under that dock. After a few tries at that, he ran toward the boat. Having seen the size of the fish, we had already said we might only get one chance at netting him.
Bill was standing there holding the net when the fish charged the boat. Fortunately for me, he made his charge at about a foot below the surface and right beside the boat. Bill simply put the net in front of him and he swam full speed, right into the net, and it was game over. The fish measured 32” and had a girth of over 24”. My Cabelas scale said this beauty weighed in at a whopping 5 ½ pounds. Needless to say, that scale got returned to the store.
Once we got it unhooked, I had Bill reach for my Nikon camera. He said, “It’s not here”, Imagine that. A fish that size and no camera. Fortunately Bill and I are like all other Americans and can’t leave home without the trusty cell phone. Bills phone had a decent camera on it and he snapped the photo for me.
I posted the photo of this fish on a couple of different websites trying to find out just what kind of fish it was. The general consensus was that it was a spawning male Kamloops Trout.
I can’t help but think Bill wasn’t my only fishing partner that day. I know AJ had a hand in catching and landing that big fish on his favorite ultralight.
Thank you for sharing your personal story, “sometimes fishing heals the soul”. Doug >:"":>