The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Outdoors

May 17, 2008

Potential state record for golden rainbow trout on hold

The review process to determine if a fish is a state record in Pennsylvania is a long and arduous one.

It can also be wrought with opinion and speculation, both of which can prevent a legally caught fish from becoming a state record.

This might be the case of the record-sized golden rainbow trout – or palomino – caught by Joe Hutchinson Jr., 40, of New Florence on the opening day of trout season.

Hutchinson’s fish – officially a whopping 13 pound, 4 ounce, 301⁄2-inch trout – was caught April 12 in Little Mahoning Creek, Indiana County.

The current state record trout – caught in Lake Erie in 1986 – weighed 11 pounds, 10 ounces.

“I was fishing beside my buddy, Bryan McKendrick,” Hutchinson said during a phone interview on Thursday. “We were under the bridge and I was catching catfish and chubs. He had caught four trout by noon, and then we went up and had lunch. After lunch, I went to the other side of the creek, where we saw (the big palomino) the day before. After about five minutes, I actually thought I had caught a snag. When it started moving, I knew it was the palomino. It came right up to the top of the water. It started swimming directly toward me and I had to keep up with reeling. I was standing in about four inches of water. It swam right up by my feet. I reached down, put my thumb in its mouth and it just started wailing and that’s when it broke my line. I threw the rod in the water and reached down and grabbed the fish with my left hand.”

It’s the end of Hutchinson’s catch story that may prevent the fish from being recognized as a state record.

According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s rules and regulations, it is unlawful to take or attempt to take fish, or keep fish accidentally caught, by snatch-fishing, foul hooking or snag fishing. Handfishing is not permitted.

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