Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Massive lake trout smashes the catch and release record at Flaming Gorge

By Grant Olsen, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Jun 14th, 2019 @ 2:31pm

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — As the old saying goes, "Records are made to be broken." That's certainly the case at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, where the resident lake trout grow to world-class size.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources recently reported that Matt Smiley, a Colorado resident, caught a 48-inch lake trout last month at Flaming Gorge. Better yet, Smiley released the trophy fish, meaning it's still lurking in the depths of the reservoir.

After reviewing the photographic evidence and details provided in Smiley's application, the DWR announced the fish as the new state catch-and-release record. You can view the complete list of Utah's catch-and-release records here.

Flaming Gorge has long been famous for its big fish. Covering more than 40,000 acres, it holds lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and more. No fewer than nine current angling and catch-and-release records have been set at the reservoir.

Interestingly enough, lake trout originally entered Flaming Gorge the old fashioned way — by swimming into it. Having been stocked in lakes and reservoirs upstream in Wyoming, they worked their way down the Green River system and found a welcome home in the reservoir. Although they were initially unexpected guests, they are now managed as a trophy fishery and have become a crown jewel of Utah angling.

And with Smiley's big laker still swimming around in the depths of the Gorge, it's only a matter of time before the lake trout record is broken yet again.

Grant Olsen

About the Author: Grant Olsen

Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book “Rhino Trouble.” You can contact him at grantorrin@gmail.com.

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