John Morgan holds his new state record rainbow trout
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has confirmed a new state record rainbow trout, caught in Polk County this past Friday. The fish, caught by 15-year-old John Morgan of Benton, weighed in at 18 pounds 8 ounces. The fish measured a whopping 32 inches long and 22 and a quarter inches in girth. The previous record, a 16 pound 15 ounce fish was set in 2002 by Ronnie Rowland at Ft. Patrick Henry Reservoir.
Morgan caught the new state record fish in a farm pond owned by his grandfather’s friend. He had agreed to help remove a snapping turtle from the pond and was invited to bring a fishing pole along. Morgan didn’t know that this favor would lead to a new state record. After 45 minutes, Morgan had fished a little, caught the turtle and decided to fish for another 10 minutes before leaving. He cast again and after a 20 minute struggle, he had the new state record fish on shore.
A sophomore at Polk County High School, Morgan fishes several days a week, mostly in the Hiwassee River. “I just love being outside, hunting and fishing,” stated Morgan. Morgan has already dropped the fish off at a taxidermist and is excited to cast a line again.
TWRA Region 3 fisheries program manager, Mark Thurman shared, “We’re very excited for this young man to find himself in the record book. With so many records being broken these days, we look forward to seeing what the next state record fish is.”
TWRA reminds all anglers about the benefits of fishing private ponds. Always ask for permission or better yet, help the pond owner. You never know, a small favor can lead to a grandiose fish. For more information on state record fish in Tennessee visit: http://www.tn.gov/twra/article/tennessee-state-fish-records
Tellico Hatchery manager Travis Scott, left, and Wildlife Officer Brandon Wear stand with John Morgan and his new record fish