DNR: Frankfort angler lands state-record brown trout

By Bill
Parker

Editor

Frankfort, Mich. – Casey Richey knew immediately that he’d
caught a special fish.

‘As soon as I got it in the net I knew it was a record,’ Casey
told Michigan Outdoor News. ‘I put it on a digital scale I had on
the boat and I was getting 37 pounds. I knew that was a record, so
we went looking for a certified scale.’

Once he found a certified scale, his assessment of the fish was
confirmed. It weighed a whopping 36 pounds, 13 ounces, was 43
inches long, and had a girth of 27 inches, making it a new state
record for brown trout. It likely will be a world-record line class
brown trout.

The old state record for brown trout was 34 pounds, 9.9 ounces
for a fish caught in Lake Michigan out of Manistee on April 5,
2000. Larry Curtis caught that monster, which measured 401/2 inches
long.

Richey’s fish was caught early Sunday morning, May 13, in the
shallows of Lake Michigan at Frankfort.

‘I caught it in an area I fish quite a bit in the spring, right
off the pier heads,’ Richey said. ‘But I never thought I’d catch a
fish like that.’

Richey was fishing with his 9-year-old son, Shane, and had just
set his lines in the water at about 6 a.m. when the fish hit. The
duo was making their first pass.

‘It hit a chartreuse No. 9 Rapala,’ the elder Richey said. ‘I
was running planers and fishing around the pier heads. We were in
10 feet of water and it hit on an inside planer, so that fish must
have been in five or six feet of water.’

After a 15-minute battle with the brown, Richey was finally able
to ease the fish – by himself – into a landing net.

Richey said his son usually sleeps for the first hour or so when
they hit the water that early. This time, Shane woke up when the
excitement mounted

‘When I got it in the boat, (Shane) woke right up. We were both
excited,’ Richey said.

DNR biologists Tom Rozich and Todd Kalish confirmed the fish as
a brown trout state record.

‘I haven’t heard a lot of input on brown trout,’ Kalish said.
‘They’re catching them but nothing like this one.’

The state-record brown is not the first big fish Richey has
caught. In 1985 he caught a 24-pound brown, which he had mounted.
In 2001, he caught a 17-pound brown that earned Master Angler
honors, and a couple years ago, he caught a 101/4-pound walleye in
Platte Lake.

Casey Richey is the son of the late George Richey, a
well-respected Michigan outdoors writer and antique lure collector.
George was not far from his son’s mind when the new state record
fish was caught.

‘My dad would have been so proud of this one,’ Casey Richey
said.

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