A Wyoming angler recently brought home an incredible trophy trout. Earlier this month, Cheyenne resident Owen Schaad caught a state-record 11.93-pound tiger trout, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Schaad was fishing at the Viva Naughton Reservoir near Kemmerer when he made the impressive catch. Schaad says that he fishes the lake often during summers, usually with limited success. But on his recent outing, he caught 20-plus fish, including the record-breaking tiger trout.
“I was fishing for maybe about 4 hours,” said Schaad. “Out of nowhere, I hooked onto this big ol’ fish, and I thought it was a brown trout. It took maybe 20 minutes to get it where I could see it. When I got it up to the bank and in the net and saw what it was, I was all excited.”
Schaad took the fish to a nearby grocery store that had a certified scale. The fish was 31 inches long with a girth of 16.5 inches. It weighed in at 11.93 pounds, comfortably topping the previous record, an 11.07-pounder caught in 2012. A tiger trout is a sterile hybrid of brook and brown trout. The species occurs occasionally in the wild, and some fisheries managers stock them. They rarely grow to this size.
“Fish need remarkable conditions to grow that big. As people catch those fish, it becomes less likely another fish with those conditions will be caught again any time soon,” explained Mark Smith, Wyoming Game and Fish assistant fisheries management coordinator. “Popular sport fish records tend to become stagnant over time due to the unusual environmental conditions that are required to produce exceptional sized fish.”
In the meantime, Schaad is enjoying his moment of fame. He called the experience “the most exciting day” of his life. It’s the first state record trout documented in the Cowboy State since 2012 when the previous tiger trout record was set.