Some trophies are best left off the record books, for the sake of both the fish and the fishery.
Erin Howard is no stranger to big fish. This Salt Lake City angler has been featured in a number of Wide Open Spaces articles, including a fan-favorite from June of last year, which highlighted an absolute brute of a tiger muskie she landed.
Fast-forward to Feb. 4, and Erin is once again playing tug-of-war with a trophy fish. This time it's a tiger trout, and it's a record-breaker!
Here's the story of this stellar fish in Erin's own words, as posted to her Facebook page:
"Unicorns aren't supposed to exist, but after staring in complete disbelief at the chrome striped fish that came through the hole, I'm a believer. Last week I teased a video of this fish, unsure of whether or not to claim the new Utah state catch-and-release tiger trout record. To be honest, its been a while since I've been so torn. We all have seen how social media can destroy a fishing spot that we've spent tireless hours to earn. This one in particular consumed more than a few weekends spent ice camping in the mountains, skipping many meals in lieu of a few extra moments with our lures in the water, and living for the slightest hints the fish forfeited.
After going back and forth, my conclusion was to humble myself and protect the lake. Its about the fish, not the angler. Nevertheless, I still have a crazy amount of pride for this fish, and I am ecstatic to share her with you all!
She's still swimming—that I'm certain. When and if she'll ever show herself again—that is the question.
P.S. Thanks to Cole B Silcox for getting a death grip on this fish and squeezing her through the hole. Without our ever-changing game plans, your knowledge, and your encouragement, I would not have caught her."
Erin's tiger trout measured 29 5/8 inches, which would've eclipsed the previous catch-and-release record, a 29-inch fish from 2013.
In order to qualify for a catch-and-release record, the angler must disclose the body of water. Subsequently, it'll become public for all to see, resulting in a dramatic increase in angling pressure, which is often detrimental to the fishery.
Erin didn't want to take that risk solely to see her name in the record book—a decision we applaud her for.
Congrats on an incredible fish, Erin. Records may fade or change, but memories will always last a lifetime.
Like seeing photos of awesome angling and big fish? Follow Erin on Instagram HERE.
Image Courtesy of Erin Howard/Facebook.
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