A Northeast Washington woman caught the new pending state and world record tiger trout, topping the high mark her son set just last year at the same lake – and by almost 3 pounds!
Cathy Clegg of Colbert was plunking nightcrawlers off the beach at the family’s Loon Lake cabin yesterday evening when the 27.42-pound hybrid bit and the battle was on.
“It took off three or four times – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,” she said, making the sound of a screaming drag.
“He jumped out of the water. I’d never seen that in Loon Lake – it looked like a salmon,” Clegg added.
After 10 minutes, son Caylun Peterson slipped the net under the tiger trout and the fish was Clegg’s.
“I was shaking,” she recalls. “Silvers will spin and come off, but not this time.”
While the record isn’t official yet, WDFW biologist Danny Garrett today certified the catch and forwarded paperwork up the ladder. He said Clegg’s fish was 35 1/2 inches long and has a girth of 26 1/8 inches.
Clegg, a retired computer server tech, says she spends all summer at Loon Lake and was specifically targeting tigers last night.
Tigers are a sterile cross between male brook and female brown trout planted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at select lakes. They’re known for putting all their energy into eating.
“A few years ago my son caught a 10, then a 12, then 15. They’re growing,” Clegg said.
WDFW district fisheries biologist Bill Baker in Colville says it’s likely that Loon’s tigers are eating kokanee – what Clegg and many other anglers call “silvers” – to grow so big.
The secret to catching them is patience, says Clegg.
“I just literally let it sit a long time,” she says of her bait and line.
She also focuses her fishing early in the morning and in the evening.
Asked if there was any friendly family fishing competition between them, Clegg said, “Oh, no. We go hunting together, we go fishing together, we just do a lot of outdoors stuff. I go elk hunting with him and help call them in.”
“He’s really excited with the record,” Clegg says. “I almost feel bad – not really.”
She says that as she reeled her fish in, her granddaughter can be heard on video saying, “I think we got another world record!”
Clegg’s fish was weighed early Monday afternoon on a certified scale at the Michlitch Company in Spokane (full disclosure, a Northwest Sportsman advertiser).
In Oregon in 2016, state managers stocked Diamond Lake with tiger trout to deal with invasive tui chub and golden shiners. The hybrids have been released in several dozen Washingtons lakes, mostly east of the Cascades in Chelan, Okanogan, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Spokane Counties.
Clegg says she plans on having her fish mounted and serendipitously, the family’s taxidermist will soon be swinging by with Peterson’s finished mount and picking up hers.
“So we’ll have two ridiculously huge mounted fish,” she says.
Correction, 4:35 p.m., August 9, 2022: The girth of Cathy Clegg’s record tiger trout was initially misreported as 28 1/8 inches. It was in fact 26 1/8 inches.