They say that catching a world record fish is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But don't tell brothers Sean and Adam Konrad that. The brothers have held at least eight world records for rainbow trout, including multiple line-class world record fish and the coveted all-tackle world record, which both have held. It sounds too bizarre to be accurate, but between 2007 and 2009, the two identical twin brothers went on a trout fishing tear on Canada's Lake Diefenbaker that completely re-wrote the International Game Fish Association's record books. It's a string of constant big fish and a feat that nobody may ever equal again in freshwater fishing history.
The success of these siblings seemed to snowball into Sean Konrad's 2009 catch of a monstrous 48-pound rainbow, a fish almost too big to be believed. Arguably, no fishermen in angling history have caught more 30 and 40-pound rainbows than the Konrad brothers. This is the story of the bizarre circumstances that led to all these record fish being caught from the same fishery and how these brothers could consistently net giant fish where all others tried and failed.
The Story of the World Record Rainbow Trout
How Lake Diefenbaker Became a Rainbow Trout Hot Spot
There is a bit of a back story about how Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker became a rainbow trout mecca. The massive artificial reservoir is long and narrow. It stretches nearly 140 miles long but is only about four miles across at its widest point. Including the Milk River, Diefenbaker is one of only two places in the entire Canadian province that holds a reproducing population of rainbows.
Although oddly enough, the lake's giant rainbows are believed to be the result of an accident involving a fish farm. In April of 2000, high winds and ice damaged the holding pens at CanGro fish hatchery, releasing thousands of genetically engineered and sterile triploid rainbow trout into the lake. Initial reports were that a half million fish escaped, which the hatchery later denied. The farm managed to recapture some of their stock, but untold others eluded capture and started feeding like mad.
Because the fish were sterile, they were not concerned with spawning. Instead, the trout focused all their efforts on feeding. Over the next few years, these triploid trout began to balloon to sizes most anglers associated with steelhead instead. It was only a matter of time before the largest rainbow trout ever was pulled from Diefenbaker's waters. We know some anglers may argue counting a record trout that's an escapee from a fish farm may not be fair, but the IGFA has made no rulings against this type of fish being added to the record books.
Adam's All-Tackle World Record Rainbow Trout
According to their YouTube channel, "Fishing Geeks," when Sean and Adam first started hearing rumors of 30+ pound rainbows being caught in Diefenbaker, it jump-started a personal quest for the two of them to break the long-standing world record of 42.2 pounds caught in Alaska back in 1970. The brothers caught their first 20+ pounder in May 2006, which fueled them to fish the lake even more. Adam caught the first record fish, a 30+ pound provincial record, in June of 2006. He immediately followed that up by getting his first IGFA record, a 33.3-pound rainbow that set a new line class record for a 12-pound line. On March 3, 2007, Sean set the 8-pound line class record with a 34-pound, 8-ounce giant. He followed that up by catching a 26-pound, 8-ounce fish that still holds the 50-pound line class world record.
One interesting aspect of this story is that many of the brother's catches happened at night. June 5, 2007, became the night the brothers had been waiting for. The two were casting from shore at around 9 p.m. Adam was throwing one of their favorite lures, a Mepps Syclops 3, when he hooked into the biggest rainbow, the duo had encountered yet. They were forced to put the fish on ice in a cooler overnight until they could weigh it the next day. Usually, when an angler can't get to a certified scale immediately, it becomes a recipe for disaster. However, Adam had nothing to worry about when the fish weighed in at 43 pounds, 10 ounces the next day, beating the old record by over a pound. The monstrous fish was 38.50 inches long and had a jaw-dropping 34-inch girth.
As if the fish wasn't impressive enough, Adam caught it using only a six-pound test! It still holds the line class world record and probably will for many years.
Sean's All-Tackle World Record Rainbow Trout
The two brothers continued fishing through 2008, occasionally acting as fishing guides, putting their clients on 30-pound fish. In their videos, Adam teases his brother about his all-tackle world record. Sean responds calmly that he's going to beat it one day. In the meantime, the brothers broke two more line-class world records. Sean caught a 37-pound, 4-ounce fish in June of 2008 that still stands as the 16-pound line class record. Then, in August, Adam caught a 40-pound, 10-ounce fish on the 12-pound test to set that record.
Even though these fish were huge, the brothers believed a trout approaching 50 pounds was possible in Diefenbaker. Fast forward nearly a year. The brothers guided some of their clients to a few more giants, but they still couldn't find one bigger than Adam's record. That was until September 4, 2009, which ended up being the most memorable day of fishing they'd had yet.
Once again, the brothers were night fishing, and it was a little after 11:00 p.m. when Sean hooked a big fish on a jointed Rapala X Rap. The brothers had gotten a bit numb to all these big rainbows because they didn't realize how large the fish was after they finally had it in the boat. In the video of the catch, you can hear them speculating that the big trout might go 40 pounds.
However, the brothers are always prepared with an IGFA-certified scale on the boat. When they put Sean's massive fish on it, it pegged the scale at 48 pounds. Once again, they were forced to put the fish on ice before they could do an official weigh-in ceremony the following day. There, the massive fish was confirmed at 48 pounds even. The fish was 42 inches long and had a 32-inch girth. It also holds the line class record for the 20-pound test. It's heartwarming to see this footage and the brothers childing each other over their kind-hearted rivalry to outdo one another.
The Brothers Are Still Catching Big Fish
While the rush of giant rainbows has slowed somewhat in recent years, there are still 30+ pounders being pulled out of Diefenbaker. And those trout aren't even the only records the brothers have drawn from the lake. It's safe to say these guys have their fingers on the pulse of Diefenbaker. Sean also holds the all-tackle world record for burbot with a 25-pound, 2-ounce specimen that he captured in 2010. This broke his record, which he caught in 2008. He has also held the 12 and 16-pound line class records for burbot.
Adam has also held the 16-pound line class record for burbot. When tallying up the score, Sean leads the way with nine total records, six of which still stand. Adam has five, two of which still stand. Still, most anglers can only dream of holding one record, and these guys have 14! Last we heard, it appears Sean is still trying to break his all-tackle burbot record again. You cannot accuse these brothers of not loving fishing!
It will likely be many years before someone catches a rainbow that can beat Sean's 48-pound rainbow trout. That fish raised the record to a place few anglers could even imagine. Before the Konrads came along, the previous record sat atop the books for 37 years! We do know one thing. We'll keep our eyes on Diefenbaker as the most likely spot where one could appear in the future! Check the IGFA's website for more info on these and other record fish.
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