Courtesy of Cathy Clegg
The family cabin fishing area on 1,100-acre Loon Lake in Washington, north of Spokane, has once again proven to be a hotspot for state and world record tiger trout.
Cathy Clegg, of Colbert, Wash., was dipping night owls Aug. 7 when she took a hit from a heavy fish and the action got hurriedly hot.
“He took off three or four times, screaming in drag,” she told Northwest Sportsman. “He jumped out of the water. I had never seen that at Loon Lake – it looked like a salmon [kokanee].
His son Caylun Peterson caught the huge tiger trout 10 minutes later, and soon the oversize pending world record was Clegg’s.
“I was shaking,” said the retired computer scientist. “Silver [kokanees] will spin and come off, but not this time.
On certified scales, Clegg’s tiger trout weighed 27.42 pounds, with a length of 35.5 inches and a girth of 28.125 inches. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife [WDFW] Biologist Danny Garrett verified the catch and documents and forwarded them to authorities for state certification.
It’s amazing that Clegg’s son Caylun Peterson caught his fish, as Peterson is the current state and IGFA All-Tackle World Record holder for tiger trout. His fish was caught at Loon Lake last year on June 21, using a nightcrawler as bait on Loon Lake. Peterson’s trout weighed 24.5 pounds, with a length of 34.5 inches and a girth of 25 inches.
His mother’s fish is nearly three pounds heavier and should easily qualify for a new tiger trout record in Washington State, as well as an IGFA All Tackle World Record for the species.
When asked if there was a family rivalry in fishing, Clegg replied, “Oh, no. We go hunting together, we go fishing together, we just do a lot of things outside. I go elk hunting with him and help call them.
“He is really excited about the record. I almost feel bad – not really.
Tiger trout is a hybrid cross between female brown trout and male brook trout. They can occur naturally in the wild, but most tigers are stocked and unable to breed.
The tigers were presumably stocked in Loon Lake, as well as other Washington waters, to feed on invasive baitfish species. Loon Lake tigers are thought to grow rapidly because they are voracious predators and prey on the lake’s prolific population of kokanee salmon.
Clegg reports that she has seen tiger trout grow at Loon Lake over the years, with her son catching heavier and heavier fish over time. Clegg points out that a lot of patience is the key to catching tigers, while focusing on dawn and dusk fishing.
Clegg has his record tiger ridden by a taxidermist, who will drop off his son’s old record trout mount, while picking up Clegg’s fish for new taxidermy work.
“So we’ll have two ridiculously huge mounted fish,” she says.