- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We will never know whether Canadian angler Tim Matheson really had a world record brook trout because he let the fish go after measuring it.

Matheson was named Week Four winner of Fish’n Win, a free tournament held by Fish’n Line magazine and Angling Masters International, a group that sponsors multispecies fishing contests. His winning fish, which might have weighed between 15 and 17 pounds, could have eclipsed a 90-year world record.

It happened Oct. 21, when Matheson, 53, who owns and operates Kenanow Lodge on Manitoba’s Kississing Lake, landed a brook trout in Barbe Lake that measured 29 inches long and had a girth of 21 inches.

“Based on the measurements of the fish and the pictures I’ve seen, I’d estimate Matheson’s brook trout to be between 15 and 17 pounds,” said Rob Cann, angling program manager at the provincial Water Stewardship Fisheries Branch.

The world record for brook trout is a 141/2-pounder caught in Ontario’s Nipigon River in July 1916.

After measuring and photographing the fish, Matheson released the “might have been a world record” trout back into the lake. According to International Game Fish Association rules, the only way Matheson could have submitted the brook trout for a record would have been to kill it. Matheson says he’s a catch-and-release fisherman and he never planned to kill it. His decision was a noble one, but it also cost him considerable recognition among trout fishing fanatics all over the world.

Would you have done the same?

This rockfish contest really fizzled — In response to the much protested FLW rockfish tournament Nov. 4, my colleague Keith Walters, who covers the outdoors for the Easton (Md.) Star-Democrat, said that of the 47 boats entered — all apparently manned by top anglers — only eight caught fish to weigh in. Even Al Ristori, a well-known New Jersey writer and internationally known game fisherman, had only one keeper.

The FLW tournament organization received a special exemption from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources so it could cull the rockfish (exchanging a smaller specimen for a bigger one whenever possible). The FLW also lowered the minimum size requirement from 28 to 24 inches, but it didn’t help.

I’m glad it turned out to be a lousy event. Now the FLW might think twice before returning to Maryland and asking the state to let it do something Maryland residents can be heavily fined for: the culling of striped bass. The state’s DNR ought to hang its head in shame for going along with this entire affair.

Trout Unlimited meeting — The Potomac-Patuxent chapter of Trout Unlimited will have its annual raffle meeting to support the chapter’s “Trout in the Classroom Program,” as well as other chapter conservation efforts tonight at 7 at Schweinhaut Senior Center at 1000 Forest Glen Rd. in Silver Spring. The meeting also will feature a panel on where and how to fish for trout locally. For information, go to www.pptu.org or call 301/652-3848.

The cost of placing fishing reefs — The purchase and placement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge material for reef sites in the Chesapeake Bay is a hot subject.

Mike Baker, the environmental manager for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, said 30,000 tons of the old bridge pieces and rubble already have been placed to form the new Point No Point reef. Another 30,000 tons also is available for placement, but Baker said it is 110 miles from the bridge to the placement site at Point No Point.

The cost of the material and transporting it to the site is about $20 to $24 a ton. The cost for the rest of the bridge material for use as reef site material is estimated to run $500,000 to $600,000. The DNR provided $38,000 toward the project out of sport fishing license funds, and several individuals or companies already have pledged $100,000 toward more reef projects, perhaps Tangier Sound, Jane’s Island, Deale Island, Cedar Point, Little Cove Point, Taylor Island, Breezy Point and Tilghman Island.

If you know of any corporation that would be willing to donate to this worthwhile project, call the DNR’s Martin Gary at 410/260-8289.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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