Late last May, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) congratulated a Montpelier resident on an 8.5-pound tiger trout he caught in a local reservoir. Kody King’s “29-inch monster trout” outweighed the state record for the species by more than three pounds, IDFG said in a press release about the fish. Roughly five months later, that record was revoked as King pled guilty to catching and killing the massive hybrid trout without a valid Idaho fishing license.

According to the Idaho State Journal, King reported the catch to Kolby White, IDFG’s Senior Conservation Officer, on May 26, 2023. In a voicemail, he told White he’d caught the tiger trout the previous evening while night fishing at the Montpelier Reservoir.

“I forwarded the voicemail to our supervisor and he got in contact with (King) and told him that he needed to get a certified weight and get all the necessary paperwork filled out,” White later told the ISJ. “A couple days later I saw our news release and I looked at the picture that was submitted and it threw me off a little bit because I knew exactly where that photo was taken at the Montpelier Reservoir and it definitely wasn’t taken at nighttime.”

Upon further investigation White quickly realized that King hadn’t purchased a fishing license until 2 p.m. the day after he claimed to have caught the fish. Then he visited the Montpelier Reservoir and took photos of the spot where King had posed for a grip-and-grin with the big trout.

“Based on all of my photographs, it was obvious that the fish was caught sometime between noon and 1 p.m.,” White said. “With all of that information we conducted an interview with (King) and eventually once we showed him our pictures he admitted to catching and killing the fish and then traveling into town to purchase a license after the fact.”

King pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges in late October 2023: one for fishing without a license and another for illegally possessing the 8.5-pound tiger trout. He paid a total of $983 in fines and restitution. As part of his plea agreement, he had to submit an apology letter in the local newspaper.

“I understand the significance of upholding the laws that protect our natural resources and maintain the integrity of our community,” King wrote in a “Letter to the Community” published in Montpelier’s News Examiner last November. “I assure you that this incident was a lapse in judgment, and I am committed to making amends and learning from this experience.”

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The IDFG has since restored its previous tiger trout record. That fish weighed 4.8 pounds and was caught by Gatlynn Mayes in a pond near Idaho Falls in 2020. The current IGFA all-tackle world record tiger trout weighed more than 27 pounds. It was caught by Cathy Clegg in Washington State in July 2022.