Ohio’s 17-year-old brown trout state record may have melted in the summer heat on Saturday, July 14.
However, if finally approved, the fish will barely squeak by: the potential new state record weighing only .025 pounds more than the current state record brown trout.
A three-brother fishing team from Pennsylvania and Virginia saw to it that one of its members - Robert Campbell of Dunbar, Pa. - may have the opportunity to claim the prize.
Campbell and his brothers were fishing with DB Charters, which is owned and operated by Lake Erie charter captain John Gribble of Madison Township.
The party was fishing north of Geneva State Park in 68 feet of water when Campbell reeled in the potential new state record brown trout, a fish that weighed 14.675 pounds and measured 27 1/4 inches.
Ohio’s current state record brown trout weighs 14.65 pounds and measures 29 1/4 inches.
It was taken - interestingly enough - July 15 1995 by Timothy L. Byrne of Brooklyn, Mich.
Gribble said the fish came off a True Trip 50 in-line diver with a Contender trolling spoon in “summer melon” color, a watermelon variation.
“Actually, we had just limited out on walleye and we were beginning to clean the rods and the fish came on the very last one,” Gribble said. “In a few minutes it never would have been caught.”
When the fish hit, Gribble says, the brown trout snapped the fishing line off the planer board cord. It then proceeded to run off about 150 feet of line before petering out.
“I thought it was a king salmon at first but when I saw it I knew right away that it was a brown trout,” Gribble said.
The fish was examined today by Phil Hillman, the fisheries management administrator for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron. Hillman did identify the fish as being a brown trout.
Gribble said that upon landings back at the dock the team immediately headed south on Rt. 534 to Trumbull Meat Market in Trumbull Township. It was there that fish was officially weighed, coming up just the ever-so-tiny fraction ahead of the current state record brown trout.
“It wasn’t by much but it was enough,” Gribble said.
Gribble said as well that the Campbell brothers decided to stick around at least through today in order to watch the fish be examined by Hillman.
Following species verification Campbell’s state record fish application will be forwarded to the Outdoor Writers of Ohio’s State Record Fish Committee.
It is the state outdoors writers which formally certifies all state record fish categories. This committee is now chaired by Fred Snyder, retired Ohio Sea Grant agent and fisheries biologist.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn