A Utah angler set the new catch-and-release record for the famous hybrid of a lake trout and a brook trout.
In November 2017, Pleasant Grove resident Buckley Jolley was fly fishing the Joes Valley Reservoir in the central part of the state. Jolley was using 7-pound fly line when he hooked a monster splake.
Following a 15-minute battle that Jolley admits felt like 30, he finally landed a splake that would set the Utah state record.
"He felt heavy," Jolley said. "I had to play the fish just right and let him run if he needed to run. When I pulled him out, I was just amazed at how big he was. It was pretty epic."
In January, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials confirmed Jolley's fish as the new state catch-and-release record, at 30.5 inches in length. His splake beat the old record by a full inch and a half, which was caught in the same reservoir in 2015.
Jolley was fishing in 15-20 feet of water and caught the record fish on a white streamer fly.
Biologists believe Joes Valley Reservoir will produce a lot of trophy-caliber splake over the next couple years. Gill net surveys show good numbers of 20-24-inch-long splake.
"We're right at that nice level where the trout are doing exceptional," said Calvin Black, Utah's DWR assistant aquatics program manager. "Our average splake there is 18 inches. It seems to be a good balance right now. A percentage of those fish are going to bump up into the 24-inch-plus trophy range."
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