A Hinsdale man, who dubbed himself “an avid outdoorsman,” snagged a 15-pound brown trout while ice fishing on Stockbridge Bowl last Saturday.
Jamie Pollard said he was out ice fishing with his childhood best friend when he caught the trout, which weighed in at a whopping 15 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 32 inches in length. The trout was on the line for 15 minutes before he was able to get a look at it.
“It was a solid 15 minutes before we were able to see the fish swim by the hole and all of us went dead quiet,” he said. “It was high anxiety, it felt like a lot longer than it was and that’s a long time to be playing a fish but the first time it went by and when we saw its tail its tail measured at 7 inches.”
Pollard said a 5-pound brown trout would be considered a prize and he had never seen anything quite like the fish he caught on Saturday.
“I’ve been around doing this for 42 years plus and I’ve never seen anything like it, so it’s pretty amazing,” he said.
The trout weighed in at 17.5 pounds on the ice. At 32 inches, it’s longer than the all-time state record, Pollard said.
Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Information and Education Chief Marion Larson said it’s rare someone pulls a fish of that size out of the ice.
“I’m as gobsmacked about the size of the fish as probably a bunch of people are,” she said.
Most of the trout stocked in Stockbridge pool are between 2 and 7 pounds, Larson said. Larger fish, like the one Pollard caught, are used primarily to breed the typical crop of fish and released after three to four years in the hatchery. Larson described them as the “cherry on top” of the typical crop of trout released into public ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers.
Pollard’s trout is not a state record as a 19-pound, 10-ounce brown trout was caught in 1966 in Wachusett Reservoir, Larson said.
Pollard said he initially planned to release the trout but instead plans to do a “synthetic mount” after donating the filets to his brother.
The “monster” trout has driven interest in ice fishing, Pollard said.
“It’s certainly invigorated a lot of people,” he said. “I showed it to some younger fishermen and other people around some of the bait stores and nowadays I look at it as possibly something that’s encouraging people to get outdoors when it’s such a difficult time.”
Charlie McKenna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.