Teen Lands Record Tiger Trout

A West Virginia teen caught a nearly 12-pound tiger trout from a Grant County reservoir on Feb. 24. Nathan Smith, 16, of Burlington, now holds a new state record for the fish, which officially pulled the scales to 11.98 pounds and measured 26.75 inches long.

Smith was fishing from the bank at New Creek Dam Site #14, which is a deep and clear impoundment of several creeks in northeastern West Virginia. According to several reports, he spotted the fish and cast a 3-inch Berkley Gulp! Minnow to it thinking it was a big brown trout. He was fishing light spinning gear spooled with 4-pound test line.

“I seen a fish surface right by the bank, and it was a pretty big fish. I reeled my second pole in and casted toward it with a Gulp minnow,” Smith told MetroNews. “I missed him on the first cast, and I finally got him to bite on the third cast. The fight lasted about six minutes.”

Smith’s fish beat the exiting record of 10.65 pounds, which was caught from Krodel Lake in by Mike Connelly in 2011. Connelly still holds the state length record for his fish, which measured 28.7 inches.

Smith’s fish is without a doubt an impressive catch, but there is debate in the trout fishing community about whether there should even be a state record for hatchery reared tiger trout. Tiger trout are a hybrid cross between brown trout and brook trout, and although they do interbreed in the wild on rare occasions, West Virginia has a robust program that hatches and releases tiger trout, including some trophy sized fish, into fisheries around the state. New Creek Dam Site #14 receives stockings each year.

In case you’re wondering, Smith filleted the fish with plans to feed his family after taking measurements for a replica mount.

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