Illinois River Yields New State-Record Rainbow Trout
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has certified a new state-record rainbow trout.Paul Glover of Sallisaw caught the new record April 4, 2015, in the Lower Illinois River below Tenkiller Ferry dam. The trout weighed 11 pounds 4.32 ounces, measured 29 3/16 inches in length and 16 9/16 inches in girth.
Glover's catch bested the previous state-record rainbow trout, which weighed 10 pounds 10.56 ounces, caught Nov. 17, 2013, at Lake Watonga by Mark Reed of Blanchard.
Glover, a geography teacher at Sallisaw Middle School, was using a fly rod with 2-pound test line and a 1/80-ounce marabou jig that he had tied himself.
Glover told the Tulsa World newspaper that he battled the big trout for about 15 minutes. "It was a good fight. It didn't jump out of the water, but it fought hard.
"I always kind of dreamed about catching a state record down there," Glover said. He said he's enjoyed fly-fishing on the Lower Illinois for the past 25 years.
The angler said he and his wife had been fishing for white bass at Tenkiller Lake, but the morning of April 4 brought temperatures in the 30s, and Glover's wife wasn't interested in getting out in the cold weather. So, Glover decided to go below the dam to do some trout fishing.
"Normally I would have been bass fishing," he said. Instead, Glover latched onto the new state-record rainbow shortly after he arrived at the river.
He said he normally releases trout after he catches them. "But this looked like a state record, so I decided to keep it."
Native to cold-water streams, trout can survive year-round in Oklahoma's Lower Mountain Fork River and Lower Illinois River. The Wildlife Department stocks trout in those two rivers throughout the year.
Additionally, there are six seasonal trout fisheries in Oklahoma that are stocked throughout most of the fall and winter, usually beginning Nov. 1 and continuing into March.
Oklahoma's seasonal state-designated trout areas are the Blue River, Robber's Cave, Medicine Creek, Watonga Lake, Lake Carl Etling and Perry CCC Lake. For trout season regulations and full details on each area, consult the current "Oklahoma Fishing" regulations guide, available free online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print anywhere fishing and hunting licenses are sold.
Urban anglers also can catch trout during the winter at Dolese Youth Park Pond in Oklahoma City (NW 50th and Meridian) and Veterans Park Pond in Jenks (101st and South Elm).
Anglers who believe they may have hooked a record fish must weigh the fish on an Oklahoma Department of Agriculture-certified scale, and a Wildlife Department employee must verify the weight. For a complete list of record fish and the procedures for certifying a state record, check the "Oklahoma Fishing" guide or go online to wildlifedepartment.com.