An 8-year-old Idaho girl obliterated a state catch-and-release record last month while fishing with her family at Lake Pend Oreille.
Sophie Egizi of Sandpoint reeled in a 36.5-inch Gerrard rainbow trout on Oct. 11. That’s more than double the size of the previous Idaho Fish and Game record of 14 inches, set in November 2018 by Miles Landis.
Gerrard rainbow trout are a strain of fish that are “unique to the Clark Fork River drainage,” according to a Fish and Game news release. Because of their massive size, they’re treated as a separate trout species for record-keeping purposes.
Sophie’s dad, Bob Egizi, said she even predicted she would catch a record fish.
“She told (us) she was going to catch the record trout,” Bob told the Statesman in an email. “And that she did!”
According to Bob, the fish bit just 15 minutes after Sophie began trolling a fly. She fought the fish for half an hour before pulling it in.
“Although her hands were cold and arms sore, Sophie never gave up,” Bob said. “She was a real trooper and we are proud of her.”
Sophie snapped a few quick photos with her fish, which she named “Old Man Sparkles,” and Pend Oreille Charters captain Bob Wiley before releasing the fish back into the lake.
Anglers have been catching trophy fish at Lake Pend Oreille for years. The Idaho Fish and Game weight record for Gerrard rainbow trout was set there in 1947 when Wes Hamlet landed a 37-pound fish. More recently, angler Aaron Fox broke a record when he caught and released a 29-inch bull trout there.