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Steamboat Magazine

Whopper of a Fish Tale

11/01/2010 04:24PM ● By Nate Brothers

Reeling in a record: Quinn Snyder, 7, and brother Hayden, 9, celebrating Quinn's gargantuan Spring Creek Catch

World record brook trout caught in Spring Creek pond

By Eugene Buchanan

People bike by it all the time. But until now, few have known what behemoths lay below diminutive Spring Creek pond. Seven-year-old Quinn Snyder ended such speculation last spring by pulling out a 5.02-lb. brook trout, which was recently recognized as the International Game and Fish Association Junior world record for the species.

“My wife picked them up and then called me about this ‘really big’ fish that Quinn caught,” says dad, Chris. “I was prepared to be disappointed -- most brookies up there only weigh a few ounces. But then Quinn held out a plastic shopping bag with a tail-fin sticking out that was the size of my hand. I never thought a fish like that could exist there.”

After weighing the fish at the supermarket, they realized they had something special. With a little research, he discovered that the current IGFA junior world record was only 3 lbs., 7 oz. Quinn’s catch beat the biggest fish of any category by 46 percent.

“We almost ate it,” Chris says. “Fortunately, I came to my senses in time.”

After contacting the records department, he sent in the necessary forms – including proof of scale certification, weigh-in witness, and a photo of the fish on the scale – and waited. When the verdict came back this fall, the fish, after losing weight due to dehydration, went into the world record books as 4 lbs. 14.25 oz., at 19 5/8 inches long with a 14 3/8 inch girth. It is now being mounted, with Quinn expecting to get it back next April.    

"I just tried to yank him in when I felt him bite,” says Quinn, who landed the lunker on a worm. “I never thought I’d catch a fish that big out of there.” Experts estimate that the fish was at least five years old and likely spent his whole life in the pond due to its length-to-girth ratio and the pond’s distance and elevation away from the Yampa.