The state of Utah has announced a new tiger trout record. A fisherman named Fatu Katoa hauled the massive hybrid fish through an ice fishing hole on December 30, 2022. It edged out the previous record by a mere half of an inch. Katoa later released the trout back into Joe’s Valley Reservoir, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). 

Katoa’s catch marks the third time that Utah’s catch-and-release tiger trout record has fallen since May 6, 2022, when an angler named David MacKay pulled a 29 ½-inch tiger from an alpine lake in the south-central part of the state. MacKay’s record held up until Wade Theilsen caught a 30-incher while ice fishing at Currant Creek Reservoir the day after Christmas. Four days after Theilsen reported his catch, Katoa reeled in the current record. 

What is a Tiger Trout?

Tiger trout are sterile hybrids that sport the genetic attributes of both brown and brook trout. The species was first observed and collected in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania in 1944. These days, they’re reared in fish hatcheries and stocked by state game agencies from Virginia to Washington state. In Utah’s Joe’s Valley Reservoir—where the current record tiger trout was taken—the species was first stocked as a means to subdue an out-of-control chub population. 

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UDWR also stocks tiger trout in the Scofield, Causey, Duck Fork, Otter Creek, and Pallisades Reservoirs. And the agency even plants the cross-bred salmonids in some of the state’s high-mountain streams—where they swim alongside native cutthroat trout

Veracious feeders, tiger trout can grow to impressive sizes in a relatively short amount of time. Cathy Klegg caught the current world record in Washington state’s Loon Lake in August 2022. That fish weighed 27.42 pounds and measured 35.5 inches.

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