Fly fishing gear

Oregon’s new whitefish state record could be a world record

An Oregon fly fisherman caught the new state record mountain whitefish on Dec. 19. The 5 lb. 12oz. the fish was certified as a new state record on January 7 and, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, could very well be considered the new world record for the species.

Alex Dietz, who lives in Bend, was fishing the lower Deschutes River near Warm Springs on Sunday, Dec. 19, when he snagged the mighty whitey. Dietz, who identifies as a catch-and-release angler, was targeting red river bands, which are a unique subspecies of rainbow trout native to desert streams in the Columbia River Basin. . He had died drifting a model egg when the whitefish ate.

“My fishing buddy Jason Schreiber saw I had a big fish and came over to see what was going on,” Dietz told ODFW. “We took pictures and kind of laughed about it for a while.”

Mountain whitefish are generally found in the same cold water habitats as trout, but the fish are generally less valued than the native trout and rainbow trout that Deschutes is famous for. Also known as “mountain bonefish”, “bugle lips”, and by a host of other affectionate nicknames, these are rough fish: the lowly carp of the trout fishing world.

Which helps explain why the two fishing buddies couldn’t help but laugh when Dietz landed the silver slab. Dietz told ODFW he was actually about to let the fish go when the two anglers realized it might be a new state record.

So they kept the fish and brought it to the Newport Avenue market in Bend, where it could be officially weighed on a scale certified by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which is a requirement under the rules. of the ODFW. They also recorded the 5lb 12oz fish at 24 inches long, with a circumference of 14 inches.

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Whitefish was officially added to the state record books on January 7, and he broke the previous record of 4 pounds 14 oz. This fish was caught in 1994 by angler Roger A. Massey at Crane Prairie Reservoir, which is a holding pond located on the upper part of Deschutes near the headwaters of the river.

Dietz doesn’t stop with state record qualification, as the fish could also be eligible for world record status. According to the International Game Fish Association, the current world record is a 5-pound, 8-ounce mountain whitefish that was caught in Alberta’s Elbow River in 1995. Dietz submits the necessary information to IGFA as part of the certification process. and he plans to bring the whitefish up for display at his house.

“We’ve known for a long time that lower Deschutes is teeming with mountain whitefish that anglers frequently catch while fishing for trout,” said Jason Seals, ODFW Deschutes District Fish Biologist. “However, we never suspected that the Deschutes could have the state and possible world record mountain whitefish, so this was a big surprise.”