Little 55-acre, 40-feet deep Woods Canyon Lake is a bit over 100 miles northeast of Phoenix, and that’s where angler Bryan Morgan was fishing Dec. 10 with friends and family when he caught a whopper of a 5-pound, 11.8-ounce tiger trout to set a new Arizona record for the hybrid species.
Morgan’s oversize brown-brook trout hybrid beat the previous state record by about two pounds. He was trolling a small Yakima roostertail-style inline spinner on 6-pound-test line in 15 feet of water with ice peppering the lakeshore.
“Everybody was chilly, it was time to go, and I stated, ‘Hey, guys let’s take the boat out for another spin,'” Morgan told Wild Grass Games. “My youngsters wished to remain by the fireplace on shore, so I simply trolled alongside the shoreline.”
Morgan kept his trolled lure in sun-warmed waters while working the shallows. Then the fish hit, and he believed he initially fouled his spinner.
“I believed I’d hooked right into a sunken log,” he said.
Morgan battled the trout on light tackle for 20 minutes, eventually working it boat-side and netting it.
“Since I was on my own, and I didn’t have help, I knew I wanted to [tire] the fish before netting it,” he stated. “A few instances with the light rod I thought it was going to break. The treble hook was bending, but it never broke.”
Morgan boated the fish and brought the tiger trout home. He weighed and measured it (24.6 inches), and then he learned by checking state records that his fish was much larger than the Arizona record caught in May 2020 at 3.16 pounds and 18.75 inches in length.
“I was pretty shocked, realizing it was more than two pounds bigger and longer than the current record,” Morgan said.
Andy Clark, with Arizona’s Game and Fish Department, certified Morgan’s tiger trout as the new state record for the species two days later. Clark said he’s fished Woods Canyon Lake for over three decades and catching a tiger trout larger than Morgan’s new record will be hard to beat.