“In the water with a hook.” That’s all Tim Daniel of Granby would initially divulge to Colorado Parks and Wildlife about where and how he caught a 23-1/4-inch brook trout. You can’t blame a fisherman for wanting to keep his secrets, and CPW seemed to be keeping the secret, too. At least for a while. Daniels caught the huge trout in Monarch Lake on May 23. State aquatic biologist Jon Ewert inspected the fish the day it was caught, but the agency only made the official announcement on Friday, declaring Daniel’s 7.84-pound brook trout a new state record, besting a mark that had stood for 75 years.
“When I headed out to fish that day with my friend Karen and four-legged friend Moose, I had no intention of breaking a record,” Daniel ultimately revealed to the CPW. “I wasn’t sure what I had hooked, but I knew it was big. I’ve fished waters in Northwest Colorado for many years, and I have landed some big fish. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of CPW aquatic biologists, Northwest Colorado has some of the best fisheries in the state.”
Brook trout are native to eastern waters, initially ranging from Hudson Bay to the Great Lakes and the headwaters of the Mississippi. But they have been introduced throughout much of North America, as well as in Iceland, Europe and Asia—and were first stocked in Colorado in 1872. With his huge catch, Daniel broke the longest-standing fish record in Colorado, a 7.63-pound brook trout caught by George Knorr from Upper Cataract Lake in Summit County in 1947.
“We always suspected that Monarch Lake had the potential to produce a state record brook trout,” said Ewert. “This is a real testament to the quality of our angling opportunities in Grand County. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving angler than Tim. He’s just one of those guys that is always out there on the water and as a result, has an intimate knowledge of the subtle details necessary to be so successful.”
Brook trout, which typically range from 6 to 12 inches in small streams but can reach 34 inches in large rivers and lakes, are opportunistic feeders. They eat a variety of insects, including caddisflies, mayflies, midges, and black flies, as well as worms, leeches, crustaceans, spiders, fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, and even small mammals like voles. It seems, however, that we’ll never know what the new state-record brookie ate that was attached to Daniel’s hook.