Sawyer Livesey with a catch/release record bull trout

Congratulations to Sawyer Livesey of Post Falls, Idaho on setting a new catch/release record for Bull Trout. Sawyer caught the monster while fishing the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry on April 8.

This 30.5-inch bull trout was long enough to beat the previous 29-inch record set just last summer by Aaron Fox in nearby Lake Pend Oreille.

Bull trout are Idaho's only native species of char - a sub group of trout and salmon that includes brook trout, lake trout, Arctic char and several others species.

Bull trout are often highly migratory fish, swimming long distances between their winter habitat and spawning streams where they spawn in the fall months.

Idaho's catch-and-release state record program is meant to recognize anglers for their outstanding catches without having to harvest the fish. If you plan to catch-and-release, remember to handle fish carefully to increase survival after the catch. Here are some tips on handling fish. Find more in our fishing rules book (page 50):

  • Use the proper size tackle to land the fish quickly, which can help minimize stress.
  • Do not touch or hold fish by the gills, gill covers, or the eyes.
  • Leave the fish in the water while removing the hook
  • Use barbless hooks to ease hook removal and minimize damage to the fish
  • When taking a photo, have the camera ready and the shot framed before removing the fish from the water.
  • Hold the fish out of the water only as long as it takes to take a picture.
  • Check out Idaho Fish and Game's award-winning fish science team and their recent research on catch/release fishing.

Think you can catch a record fish? Learn about the program and how to apply on our Idaho state record fish program website.

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