Though I’m not entirely sure he realized it at the time, the 52-pound, 3-ounce lake trout Rob Scott pulled through the ice on Lac la Croix in early February beat the current tip-up ice record by more than 25 pounds. Off the catch went to a Minnesota taxidermist, and into several local papers went the story of Scott’s behemoth. And then all hell broke loose. The tale of why this catch is no longer eligible for record status can either leave you feeling mad at Scott or feeling bad for Scott. Here are the facts. You make the call.
While it’s worth reading the entire story on the website of the Minnesota Star Tribune, I’ll break down the key points here.
Lac la Croix straddles the border between Minnesota and Ontario. On the Minnesota side, the daily possession limit for lake trout is 2. On the Ontario side, it’s 1.
Prior to catching the giant trout, Scott was already in possession of a 4-pound laker, and was fishing on the Ontario side, a mere 100 feet, he says, from the Minnesota line.
Before he caught the 52-pounder, two officers on snowmobiles from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources just happened to check Scott’s license, noting the 4-pound trout in his possession.
Not wanting to break the law, after catching the big trout (which Scott says was exhausted from the fight and would not have survived if he released it), he gave the 4-pound trout to another angler on the ice.
When the story broke in the newspapers, the same officers from Ontario that checked Scott took action. Officers from Minnesota DNR then got involved, taking Scott’s huge fish from the taxidermist so they could turn it over to the Canadians. There will be no record, and the whole thing is still under investigation, which could lead to more penalties.
As for Scott’s take, here’s what he stated in the article: I called the Ontario officers Tuesday morning and told them I owed them an apology. It wasn’t illegal for me to keep fishing after I caught the first trout. But when I caught the bigger fish, with the adrenaline and everything I had going, and the fact that it wasn’t going to survive if I released it, I figured if I gave the smaller fish away, that would be OK.’