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Ice Fisherman Loses 52-Pound World Record Trout Due to Legal Technicality
Minnesota ice fisherman Rob Scott landed a 52-pound 3-ounce lake trout on February 8, shattering the ice fishing world record by a whopping 20 pounds. However, the poor guy is not going to be making the record books, because it turns out he was about 100 feet too far north.
You see, Scott was fishing on Lac la Croix, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. On the Minnesota side of the lake the daily limit is two fish, but on the Ontario side it’s one. Unfortunately, Scott was about 100 feet on the Canadian side of the border when he hooked his lunker, and he already had a four-pounder on ice. Thus, while it was still legal for him to be fishing, he wasn’t allowed to keep anything he caught—world record or not.
This wasn’t exactly a mix-up, mind you. Scott was aware that he was on the Ontario side of the lake, as Ontario conservation officers had already come by to check his license and make note of his 4-pound catch. However, when he landed the world record catch after fighting it for over an hour, Scott also knew the thing wasn’t going to survive if he threw it back. Thus, he tried to circumvent the law by giving his other fish to another angler so he could keep his trophy fish.
Of course, the problem with a world record catch is that is gets you in the newspaper. And in this case, the Ontario officers who came by and checked Scott’s license on February 8 remembered that he already had his one fish, so they phoned Minnesota wildlife authorities and ratted him out. Now the fish is no longer in Scott’s possession and will soon be deported.
Ironically, if Scott had followed the law and released the fish back into the lake—even though it would have died anyway—he would get his name in the record books. However, no fish caught in violation of any law is eligible for record-book status. So now the 52-pounder is just the one that got (taken) away.