Angler catches hybrid rainbow trout in Idaho

A slow day of fishing at one of Idaho’s blue ribbon trout destinations quickly turned into the ride of a lifetime for Hailey Thomas. On Oct. 4, the Rigby, Idaho angler hooked a 36-inch rainbow/cutbow hybrid — or “cutbow” — that shattered the state record for catch and release.

Thomas and her husband, Shane, were fishing with their two children at Henrys Lake, which is famous for its trophy Yellowstone, brook and brook trout. They weren’t catching much at their first spot by mid-afternoon and decided to relocate. The family was raising anchor when Thomas spotted a monster.

“Hailey did a phenomenal job fighting the fish and keeping it out of the abundant weeds known to knock big trout off the line,” Shane said in a press release. “After a stressful minute or so, I reached out and scooped up the fish. The net I usually use to chase carp seemed so small that the fish could hardly fit in it.”

the woman carries a large trout with the boy in the boat
The fish beat the old record by 6 inches. Shane Thomas

With a length of 36 inches and a draw of 21 inches, the bow is estimated to have weighed between 17 and 20 pounds. It topped the old length record, a 30-inch hybrid caught by Ryan Ivy on the Snake River in 2018, by 6 inches. After measuring the trout and snapping a few quick photos, Thomas released the fish.

The 6,000-acre Henrys Lake is located 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park on the Continental Divide. Yellowstone’s native cuttlefish make up 55 percent of its trout population. The next most common fish are rainbow trout, which make up about a quarter of the trout population.

Read further: Delaware fisherman catches state record giant blue catfish

Idaho Fish and Game operates a small hatchery on the lake that produces both pure Yellowstone walleye and walleye/rainbow hybrids. Because hybrids are sterile and cannot reproduce, bird workers collect eggs from female Yellowstone cutthroats and mix them with meal from rainbow trout. This year’s run was completed during the first week of March – and 392 female brown trout produced nearly a million fertilized eggs.

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