Nine-year-old angler reels in record brook trout on North Saluda River
A 9-year-old angler from Tigerville recently caught a brook trout that tied a 31-year-old South Carolina state record for the species.
Riley Dunn, 9, caught a 2-pound, 6.08-ounce brook trout in the North Saluda River in northern Greenville County in January 2010. Since existing records must be exceeded by a minimum of 2 ounces to be supplanted in the state record book, Riley’s catch will share the top spot with a 2-pound, 6-ounce brook trout caught by L. Dean Chapman of Salem on the Chattooga River in 1979.
Riley and his father, Marcus, were fishing on the North Saluda River when Riley hooked the big brookie on his "secret bait."
A fourth grader at Tigerville Elementary, Riley immediately showed the fish to his father, who noticed the white tips on the fins—telltale markings of a brook trout.
After returning home, Riley’s grandfather suggested they have the fish weighed. That evening they had the fish weighed on certified scales at Jordan’s Processing in Greer, which confirmed their belief that the trout might challenge the state standard.
Dan Rankin, regional fisheries biologist for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) based in Clemson, confirmed Riley’s catch and submitted the required paperwork for final approval. Riley is currently the youngest record holder on the state’s freshwater records list.
Rankin said the North Saluda is one of more than a dozen mountain streams and rivers that receive an annual stocking of close to 30,000 brook trout, produced at the DNR’s Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in northern Oconee County. The fish are typically 9 inches long when stocked, although several hundred larger "brood" fish are released each year as well. "We have stocked quite a few that were really good-sized when they were released," Rankin said. "This one was probably a 3-year-old fish."
All freshwater fish records for South Carolina can be found online. To report your record breaking catch, an Affidavit for Record Freshwater Game Fish must be completed and submitted to DNR no more than 45 days after the catch.
Anglers who think they have caught a state or world record fish should take the fish as soon as possible to a set of state certified scales-such as a local grocery store scale. Two witnesses must be present and available to sign the state affidavit form. Photos should be taken for additional documentation and steps taken to immediately preserve the fish. This can be done by wrapping the fish in a dark plastic bag and placing the fish on ice or freezing it.
Freshwater all-tackle sportfishing records are kept for 32 species: striped bass, white bass, hybrid bass, white perch, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, redeye bass, bluegill (bream), shellcracker, redbreast, warmouth, flier, pumpkinseed, white crappie, black crappie, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sauger, yellow perch, walleye, chain pickerel (jackfish), redfin pike, muskellunge (muskie), blue catfish, bullhead catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, mudfish (bowfin) and American shad.
To purchase your South Carolina freshwater fishing license and start your quest for the next record breaking fish call 1-866-714-3611.
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