December 15 , 2005

To call this trout a lunker would be an understatement: 33 inches long, 17 pounds, 2.6 ounces.

Colorado State Record Cutthroat Trout That's the size of the Snake River cutthroat trout caught Aug. 28, 2005, in the Blue River by Rob Peckham, 48, of Oak Creek, CO. The fish set a state record for that species.

The size of the fish was confirmed by Bill Atkinson, aquatic biologist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) in Steamboat Springs.

Peckham, who has been fishing all his life, caught the fish while floating the river below Green Mountain Dam. He was using a rainbow-colored Rapala on spin-casting gear. Peckham explained that he has fished that section several times and had seen big trout there. Normally a fly fisherman, Peckham said he switched to spinning gear because he didn't think he'd be able to bring in a giant trout on a fly rod.

I knew there were big fish in there, but I was surprised when I caught one, Peckham said.

Because the fish is not native to Colorado, the DOW has established Peckham's catch as the record for the Snake River cutthroat category. The DOW maintains a separate category for native cutthroat species - Colorado River, Greenback and Rio Grande.

The largest native cutthroat recorded in the state was a 16-pounder taken from Twin Lakes in 1964. The exact species is not known; but it was caught before the DOW started stocking the Snake River variety, said Robin Knox, the agency's sport fish coordinator.

The size of the fish gives evidence that the Blue River continues to be a high-quality fishery, Knox said.

To see records for all fish in Colorado, go to the DOW Web site at: http://wildlife.state.cous/fishing/ .

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