Colorado man catches record fish the size of a 7-year-old child

Matt Smiley of Fairplay poses with the record 48-inch lake trout he caught at Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northeastern Utah on May 4. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources confirmed it as the state record for a catch-and-release lake trout this week.
Courtesy Photo

The morning started slowly for angler Matt Smiley, who was fishing the Flaming Gorge Reservoir which straddles the Utah-Wyoming border. But when he got a bite, it was a big one.

The fish Smiley caught on May 4 was recognized this week as the Utah state record for a catch-and-release lake trout, measuring 48 inches. He weighed it at just under 53 pounds but almost let it go without measuring it.

Just to get an idea of its size, an average boy in the month he turns 7 has a height of 48 inches and weight of nearly 51 pounds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control.

“I had been wanting to catch a fish over 50 pounds for a long, long time,” said Smiley, a Fairplay resident who once held the Colorado record with a lunker that weighed 44 pounds, 5 ounces. “I was pretty sure it was over 50 pounds, looking at it, but when we (weighed it), I was so excited. I put it back in the net and had it over the side of the boat, getting ready to let it go, and my buddy in the boat with me stopped me. He was like, ‘Man, we’ve got to measure that fish, do you have a tape measure in here?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t even care, man, I broke 50 pounds, I’m good with it.’ He’s like, ‘No, that’s the longest fish I’ve ever seen, you need to measure that thing.’ ”

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