GUNNISON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A father-son duo in Gunnison, Colorado got the surprise of a lifetime when they reeled in the pending world record for the largest lake trout ever caught.
Scott Enloe has been fishing his whole life and frequents the Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison, about 160 miles west of Colorado Springs. May 6 was the first day he and his son, Hunter, could take the boat out on the reservoir for the season, and that weekend, they reeled in a massive fish.
After a 13-minute battle with the beast, Enloe caught a lake trout that weighed 73.29 pounds and measured nearly four feet long.
According to the International Game and Fish Association, a fish that large meant Enloe broke the world record. The largest lake trout ever, weighing in at 72 pounds, was caught by Lloyd Bull on Great Bear Lake in Canada nearly 30 years ago.
Enloe said he also broke the state record, currently held by a 50-pound lake trout caught by Donald Walker while fishing on Blue Mesa Reservoir in 2007.
However, his world-record title is currently pending. Enloe said he weighed and measured the fish but then returned it to the water, a move that could hurt his chances of making the record books.
In Colorado, potential record holders need to have a valid fishing license (or be under the age of 18) and the fish needs to be caught “in compliance with all state fishing rules and regulations,” according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The fish must then be weighed on a state-certified scale. A photo, signed by a witness to the weighing, needs to be taken of the fish on the scale, or a weight receipt must be produced.
The International Game Fish Association requires photos and videos as soon as the angler begins reeling in a catch. Fish need to be weighed “on solid ground” using a scale that has been certified within the last year. The tackle and line used must also be saved.
“I released the fish alive, and as bad as it sounds, they frown upon that, they want to kill the fish. But this fish was estimated to be a 60-year-old fish, possibly an original fish when they impounded Blue Mesa Reservoir,” said Enloe.
For certain records, the IGFA says the fish must be released alive but after a picture of the fish on one of the association’s measuring board.
So, not only did Enloe break a world record, he caught a fish that possibly dates back to 1966 when the largest lake in Colorado first damned up.
Enloe said he never considered killing the fish and doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make it into the record books.
“Whether it goes in the official record books or not, that’s fine with me because I’m happy that I released the fish alive,” said Enloe.
Previously, the second biggest fish Enloe ever caught was a 36-pound lake trout. Now he can brag about bagging a fish more than double that size.