Idaho Angler Lands Record Breaking Tiger Trout

Austin Christensen's giant tiger trout is officially the new Idaho state record
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idaho tiger trout
The new Idaho state record tiger trout. IDFAG

Tiger trout are among the most beautifully marked of all the salmonids, and Austin Christensen recently landed a handsome tiger that has officially broken the Idaho state record. 

Christensen caught a 9.13-pound fish that measured 27.25 inches long from Montpelier Reservoir in southeast Idaho. His fish tops the previous state record tiger trout weighing 8.3 pounds, captured just three weeks previously on May 17 from the same Montpelier area lake by angler Tyson Lutz.

Christensen caught his fish on June 1 and believed it might better the state record, so he had the tiger trout weighed on certified scales in front of witnesses. The fish was accepted by the state as a new record tiger trout and announced in a July 4 notification on the Idaho Fish and Game Department Facebook page.

Because of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the angler and Idaho fisheries personnel have been unavailable to Outdoor Life for more details on Christensen’s catch.

Tiger trout are a hybrid cross between a male brook trout and a female brown trout. They were introduced to Montpelier Reservoir in 2016 and can be found in select places across Idaho and in other states. Tiger trout hybrids can occur naturally, but they’re chiefly produced by biologists in fish hatcheries and released into the wild for anglers to catch. The tiger trout’s beauty, aggressiveness, and fast-growing nature make it a prized fish for some anglers. 

According to IGFA, “the wavy tiger-like markings on the sides of the trout add to its unique beauty and thus its name. It does not substantially resemble either parent species or any other salmonid. It is stockier and more aggressive than either parent species, and so are more easily caught by anglers. It is a surface feeder and is highly regarded by anglers in waters where stocked.”

However it’s the small, naturally occurring tigers that are loved by the diehard trout fishermen. “These little natural tigers are highly prized, but they are not to be confused with the other more common hatchery tigers which many trout snobs loathe,” Fishing Editor Joe Cermele writes.

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Hybrid stocked tiger trout are unable to reproduce. The species has been distributed worldwide, with IGFA records coming from the United Kingdom and Australia. The IGFA all-tackle world record of 27 pounds, 6 ounces was caught by Cathy Clegg in 2022 from Loon Lake, Washington.