A Warren County angler has broken the state brook trout record.
William Altman of Athol caught a 5 pound, 14 ounce brook trout while fishing in a backcountry lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness in Hamilton County on May 5. The fish was 21 inches long.
The record-breaking fish was announced by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which needed to verify that the fish was not a splake or a large stocked fish. This was the seventh time in eight years the record was broken.
William Altman shows off his record-breaking 5-pound, 14-ounce brook trout that he caught in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness in early May.
(Photo provided by the DEC)
Altman told the Enterprise Monday he caught the fish while trolling with a Lake Clear Wabbler and a worm from a 10-foot Hornbeck canoe on the second morning of a three-day camping trip. He was camping with his fishing buddy Pete Corlew.
"Me and my buddy Pete Corlew, we know there's big fish in there," Altman said. "We were hoping for a couple of four pounders because four pounders would have been his biggest, because he's got one over three and I've got a three pounder. We were just hoping for a four. Hell with a six damn-near, you know. But that's the way it goes."
Altman said he didn't want to reveal the name of the body of water where the fish was caught because he didn't want to receive a lot of pressure from anglers.
He said it was about 9:30 a.m. when he caught the fish. He had been on the water since dawn.
At the time he got the bite, Altman said he had two lines in the water. After he hooked the brook trout, he realized it was a big fish and he needed to get the other line out of the water.
"I played with her a little bit and while she was running, I kept the line tight and put the other pole between my legs and reeled it in with my left hand," he said. "I kept doing that until I got that line in. Then I got my net ready."
Altman said he then "played" the fish for about 10 minutes until he could get it near the boat. He was able to get the fish, which he said was shaped like a football, into the net on the first attempt.
"She rolled right over it," he said. "It was quite a site."
Altman said he then had the fish weighed in Speculator after he left the woods the next day. When he realized he may have broken the state record, he took it to the DEC's office in Warrensburg.
Altman's fish broke the record previously held by Dan Germain of Forestport in Oneida County. Germain caught his fish last year on June 15 while fishing at South Lake in Herkimer County in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park.
That brook trout was also caught on a Lake Clear Wabbler and worm. It measured 22 inches and weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces, surpassing the previous state record set in 2009 by 3.5 ounces.
The most recent record breaking fish was stocked as a fingerling by DEC's Rome Fish Hatchery and is considered a Temiscamie hybrid, a cross between a domestic brook trout and a wild Temiscamie (Canadian-strain) brook trout. These hybrids are stocked because they have a better survival rate than other strains of brook trout in some of the more acidic waters of the Adirondacks, according to the DEC.
The large trout is now mounted on Altman's wall, along with a couple of three pounders he's caught.
"She was pretty," he said, "definitely a pretty fish, thick - a real football."