Catching A Trout That Is Older Than You Are!

19 Nov

Ok, what are the chances when your out on the water that you end up catching a fish that is older than you are? Probably, very improbable. However, as Brett Prettyman writes in the Salt Lake Tribune, it can be done! I would like to thank Brett for sharing this story with us here at Idaho Fishin’ Talk. Take a look at this!

Anglers usually describe the fish they catch by length, weight or numbers, but Jacob Brewer of Layton found a new way after landing a lake trout at Bear Lake last week: age.

Brewer caught the trout, which was 33 inches long and about 9 or 10 pounds, during a fishing trip to northern Utah on Nov. 7. When he got the fish to the boat he noticed an orange tag with the number 0275 stuck in the dorsal fin.

Brewer recorded the number and color of the tag, took a photo with the fish and then put it back in the lake. Returning home, Brewer contacted Scott Tolentino, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Bear Lake Project leader.

Upon hearing that the fish sported an orange tag, Tolentino immediately knew it was an older fish, but when he saw the picture he knew it was truly an old-timer.

“Lake trout are similar to humans in that the cartilage continues to grow throughout their lives,” he said. “People get larger ears and noses as they get older. With the old lake trout you see exceptionally large fins in proportion to the body length. I could tell by looking at its fins it was old.”

Tolentino checked records and discovered the fish received the tag, by Tolentino himself, after being caught in a gill net in September 1993. So the fish was at least 16 years old. But that old lake trout was about to get even older.

Brewer’s fish had also been marked by biologists when it was released into the lake by having its left pelvic fin

and adipose fin clipped off. Wildlife officials only used those exact clippings on one age class of fish, which was hatched in 1972 and placed into the lake in 1973.

The fish Brewer caught was more than 37 years old, Tolentino said, 11 years older than the angler who caught it.

Tolentino said it is common for lake trout in Bear Lake to reach ages over 25 due to the cold water and low food supply. The lake trout, cutthroat trout and whitefish in Bear Lake grow slowly as a result.

Tagged fish are common in Bear Lake. Tolentino said biologists from Utah and Idaho — the lake lies in both states –use the tags to track survival and movement of the fish.

Had Brewer kept the tag from his fish, Idaho Fish and Game would have owed him $5. Fisheries officials from that state initiated a program in the mid-1990s that rewarded anglers for turning in tags in hopes of gaining more information. The program was eventually shelved.

“It is encouraging to see lake trout being around for that many years,” Tolentino said. “It is something where we knew the potential was there. This just gives up documentation on how long they can live in Bear Lake.”


Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Fishing Eastern Idaho, Lake Trout Or Mackinaw


16 responses to “Catching A Trout That Is Older Than You Are!

  1. Bill

    November 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    That's pretty incredible! That fish is a year older than me!

  2. Wandering Owl

    November 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    That is cool. I've heard – long ago – that lake trout have no problem of living upwards of 50 years in those big old lakes.

  3. Ben G.

    November 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I had no idea lake trout could live that long it's just crazy that fish is 7yrs older than me

  4. Shoreman

    November 20, 2009 at 8:15 am

    All you young guys out there. I was married and had 3 kids when this fish was hatched in 1972. Odd that the word verification word, is Codger???? There an omen here?

  5. Fish Whisperer

    November 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    I am still older than that trout but I have to say that is pretty old. Now that he put it back maybe it has another 10 or 20 years in it. your right Shoreman my verification word is "crotchety", something wrong here. Tight lines

  6. kais4795

    November 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Cool story. I have spent many a summer swimming in Bear Lake as a youth. Much of this was at the same time this fish was growing up. Pretty crazy.

  7. Mel

    November 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Bill – Kind of mine boggling, isn't it?Wandering Owl – I have just fished for them, with no knowledge of how long they could survive.Ben G – As I said to Bill, kind of mind boggling, huh Ben?Shoreman – Sounds like and omen to me. Codger, I think I have been called that I'm sure.Fish Whisperer – Quite a fish, indeed. Glad to see him released. "Crotchety", I have probably been called that too!

  8. Mel

    November 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    kais4795 – First of all, welcome to Idaho Fishin' Talk and thanks for leaving a comment. They are always welcome here. Secondly, all things put into perspective, it is a pretty crazy thing to ponder on.

  9. gary

    November 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Mel, I think you and I won't be catching a fish older then us any time soon, huh? Nice to know though that those lakers have some longevity. I got a 15 pounder hanging in my house that I caught in Lake of the Woods, Canada/Minnesota, so now I wonder how old it was.

  10. Mel

    November 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Hi Gary – Glad to hear from you again. If there is a fish out there that is older than you and I, we better plan a trip and have our strategy in line or ducks in a row or whatever they say. Congrats on your Lake Trout. Let's see how old was he? hmmm……..

  11. Rebecca

    November 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Thats amazing! I had no idea lake trout got that old..huge yes, old I didn't know. Very cool and thank you for sharing that story with us. I'm properly impressed~

  12. Wolfy

    November 25, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Mel – I don't know if I've ever caught a fish older than I am – except for a big sturgeon – but I've caught A LOT of fish that were in better shape than I am!!!Happy Thanksgiving to you and your familyWolfy

  13. Mel

    November 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    That's funny, Wolfy! Boy, you know come to think of it, I have caught a lot of fish also that were in much better shape than me, also.Have a great Thanksgiving day with your family, my friend.

  14. Mel

    November 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Rebecca – Thank you for your comment, as always, and, I am glad that you enjoyed the post. It is a very interesting story. Learned things I never knew.Happy Thanksgiving Day!

  15. Steelhead

    December 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    a 37 year old trout?! I have never even heard of that before!

  16. Mel Moore

    December 13, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Steelhead – Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving your comment. Notice that I have visited your blog and became a follower. Along with that, I have added your blog to my BlogBuddies BlogRoll. Your comments and views are always welcome here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: