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On April 13, an Idaho fly fisherman caught a 25-inch cutthroat trout while drifting a stonefly nymph beneath and indicator on the Idaho side of the Clark Fork River. Daniele Whitesitt recorded the massive trout’s measurements, took several photos, and released it shortly after catching it that morning. Twelve days later, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) declared his giant cutthroat a new catch-and-release state record.

The Clark Fork flows into Priest Lake in Bonner County, Idaho, not far from the Montana line. “At 25 inches long, Daniel’s fish eclipsed the previous record of 24 inches set by Madison Nackos in 2021 from nearby Priest Lake,” IDFG said in a press release issued on April 24. “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.” 

According the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Westslope cutthroat is one of 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout found in western North America. They live on both sides of the Continental Divide, roughly from Yellowstone National Park into British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

There are five distinct subspecies of cutthroat in Idaho: the Bonneville cutthroat, the Lahontan cutthroat, Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat, the Westslope cutthroat, and the Yellowstone cutthroat.

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The International Gamefish Association (IGFA) world record for cutthroat trout was caught in Pyramid Lake , which is famous for its giant Lahontan cutthroats. That record has been in place for nearly a century. John Skimmerhorn caught the 41-pound record-holding cutthroat on December 1, 1925. The IGFA’s all-tackle length record for fly-caught cutthroat measured 31.5 inches, it was also caught in Pyramid Lake by Peter F. Binaski in February of 2024.