Somewhere on the North Fork of Idaho's Clearwater River is a rainbow trout weighing at least 28 pounds–or about 8 pounds heavier than the state record for the species.
Larry Warren, who knew that he had a possible record-breaker on the line during a recent fishing trip with a buddy, was compelled to release the fish because it was protected under state law.
"I knew that it could potentially be a state record when it came 2 feet out of the water," Warren told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "It took a 70-yard run up the river."
The 55-year-old angler noticed after landing the trout that it had an intact adipose fin. The state mandates that rainbow trout with an unclipped adipose fin must be released.
However, Warren's record-setting hopes were not entirely dashed.
He weighed the fish at 28.32 pounds on a digital hand scale, before setting it free. He and his buddy then hurried to a nearby supermarket to compare his scale with a certified scale used by the market's butcher.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>This giant rainbow is still swimming in the Clearwater River! Larry Warren released after weighing at more than 28lbs <a href=”http://t.co/X9eH9wTQuf”>pic.twitter.com/X9eH9wTQuf</a></p>— Idaho Fish and Game (@idfg) <a href=”https://twitter.com/idfg/status/555119608034623489″>January 13, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The difference was negligible, so he had the butcher sign a note, saying so, and hoped to submit catch details to the IDFG for record consideration.
But Warren later learned that an angler needs two witnesses to a catch to qualify for a record, and he only had one.
"I do want that record; it's something that I've dreamed about my whole life," he said. "We tried to do what we could to qualify. But I'm enjoying it for what it is. It was quite a moment in a fisherman's life."
Meanwhile, a photo of Warren posing with the fish has been circulating this week on fishing sites, and being discussed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Twitter.
"This giant rainbow is still swimming in the Clearwater River!" the IDFG tweeted, along with the photo (posted above). "Larry Warren released it after weighing at more than 28 pounds."
The state record is a 20.2-pounder caught on the Snake River in 2009.
For the sake of comparison, the world record rainbow trout is a 48-pound specimen landed in Canada's Lake Diefenbaker in 2009.
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