Likely world-record trout caught on La Croix
Scott: “I felt like Captain Quint in ‘Jaws’”
Tom Klein
submitted
Crane Lake resident Rob Scott holds what is likely the largest lake trout ever caught through the ice. It weighed in unofficially at over 52 pounds. The current record is 40 pounds.

LAC LA CROIX – While working a jig on another line, Rob Scott saw the flag on his tip-up pop up.

Scott walked about 25 feet to the tip-up, but when he retrieved it from his fishing hole on Lac La Croix, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“All that was left was the line around the spool and the knot,” said Scott.

The fish had reeled off nearly 250 feet of line. Scott plunged his bare hands into the icy water and yanked up about six to eight feet of his 20-pound monofilament line. He set the hook and the battle was on.

About an hour later, Scott landed his trophy. The immense lake trout, caught on Feb. 8, measured 45 inches long with a girth of 32 inches. A hand-held digital scale recorded the fish’s unofficial weight as 52 pounds, 3 ounces.

If the fish exceeds 40 pounds when officially weighed, it could be an ice-fishing record, according to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis. Earl Palmquist of International Falls holds the current National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame record for a lake trout caught through the ice and kept. Palmquist’s fish, caught on Clearwater West Lake near Atikokan, Ontario, in 1987, weighed 40 pounds and was 43 inches long.

Scott, who is having the monster trout mounted by a taxidermist, is getting an official weight on the fish for the Hall of Fame.

Jim Janssen, of Voyagaire Lodge and Houseboats in Crane Lake, has no doubt the fish will set a new world record. He held the scale when Scott weighed the fish after returning to Crane Lake.

“It is just awesomely grotesque,” said Janssen. “It’s a monster.”

Bill Congdon of Crane Lake has fished for lake trout in the same area where Scott caught fish. “I have never heard of anybody catching a fish like that,” said Congdon. “There have been some 20-pounders caught there, but something that big, never.”

An epic battle

The 65-year-old Scott, who owns Scott’s Peaceful Valley Resort on Crane Lake, said he was fishing in 55 to 60 feet of water when he snagged the huge trout. His bait — a shiner minnow — was about a foot off the bottom.

The fish stayed near the bottom for at least half an hour. Scott got the trout to mid-water depth and slowly worked it closer to the surface for the next 15 minutes. “I had to stay focused,” said Scott. “I knew he had shoulders. When he was pulling so solid, there was some weight behind it.”

As Scott brought the fish into shallower waters, he thought at one point he had nearly lost the trout. “When it came up, the fish rolled and hit the ice. I thought the line might break or I got too much slack in the line and he would spit the hook out, but he was still on the line.”

Scott got his first glimpse of the fish as it swam beneath his hole. “I saw his eye staring up at me through the hole and I knew then I had a monster trout on the line,” said Scott.

Scott was waiting for the right opportunity. The fish swam by the hole again and on the third pass, Scott saw its head and the mouth was partly open. He rammed a gaff hook into the fish’s mouth, let go of the line and pulled with both hands on the three-foot gaff.

“I just stood back and pulled and the fish came out of the hole like a cork out of a wine bottle,” said Scott.

After landing the fish, Scott said he shouted and did a dance on the ice. Anglers nearby heard the commotion and came to investigate.

“When they saw the fish, they said, “Holy crap,’” said Scott. They snapped photos of Scott with his trophy.

Scott said he’s had big fish on the line before, but has never landed a freshwater fish like this, ever.

“I had a couple of big fish on the line on Thompson Lake that gave me a run for my money,” he said, “but they spit the hook before I could land them.”

Old-school angler

Scott has been fishing trout since he was in high school, but resumed in earnest since he retired from the Navy. For the last decade, he said he’s been fishing for trout primarily at Lac La Croix, David and Thompson lakes.

Congdon said Scott is just a really good trout fisherman. Janssen agreed. “He understands what the fish is doing under the lake and he knows how to navigate the fish to his hole.”

Scott considers himself an old-school angler. He typically will leave before daybreak on a fishing excursion and goes fishing regardless of temperature or weather conditions. “The trout don’t care if it’s blowing or snowing,” he declares.

He doesn’t bring a fish shelter or tow sled. “If you’re going to ice fish, you’ve got to be out on the ice,” he said.

Scott compared the experience of landing the trout to Quint pursuing the great white shark in the film “Jaws.”

“I didn’t need a bigger boat,” he joked, “ but I told Bill Congdon I might need a bigger gunny sack to bring trout back.”

Scott already has a place of honor reserved for the big trout in his home. It will be next to a wooden plaque he received from his great-grandfather, who chiseled the motto: “Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you lived in it.”

Was there any temptation to release the monster trout back into the waters where it was spawned?

Scott doesn’t hesitate. After battling the fish for an hour, alone and with his bare hands working the taut fishing line in temperatures just above seven degrees Fahrenheit, Scott said it never entered his mind. “Releasing that fish was not part of my trout vocabulary,” he concluded.

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8 comments on this item

Should have released it and gotten a wall mount duplicate made. Congrats, but keeping it? Naw.

Robert Scott was a bully when he was a kid, according to Crane Lake residents, he remains a bully to this day. He wasn't going to release this lunker. No, to him, that would be giving up power and control and that is not in his vernacular. I would have released it. But then, I don't have power issues.

Possible record catch could land angler in trouble

A potential ice fishing world-record lake trout caught by a Crane Lake man earlier this month has been confiscated from a Duluth taxidermist by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

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Submitted Trout

image

Scott of Crane Lake holds a lake trout he caught Feb. 8 on Lac La Croix, a Minnesota-Ontario border lake northeast of Crane Lake. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources enforcement officers, working in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources have confiscated the fish. The Ontario MNR is investigating to determine whether the fish was caught legally. Rob Scott photo

A potential ice fishing world-record lake trout caught by a Crane Lake man earlier this month has been confiscated from a Duluth taxidermist by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The catch is under investigation by enforcement officials with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, officials with the agency said.

The fish, which unofficially weighed more than 52 pounds, was confiscated Monday night from Bowe Taxidermy in Duluth, owner Randy Bowe said. It was confiscated by Scott Staples, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, Bowe said.

The Minnesota DNR is cooperating with Ministry of Natural Resources enforcement officials in the investigation. The fish was caught in Ontario waters of Lac La Croix, a border lake northeast of Crane Lake.

MNR conservation officer Joe Burroughs, based in Atikokan, Ontario, confirmed that the MNR is investigating the catch but offered no other details.

The angler, Robb Scott, 65, of Crane Lake, caught the large lake trout while fishing on Lac La Croix on Feb. 8. It was weighed at 52 pounds, 3 ounces, on a handheld scale later that day. The fish was 45 inches long with a 32-inch girth, Scott said. It was caught on a tip-up line, Scott said.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Scott said he caught two lake trout that day but gave the first one away after catching the larger lake trout. His limit was one lake trout.

The big lake trout hadn’t been weighed on a certified, official scale before it was confiscated, Bowe said. Scott had hoped to have the fish weighed officially and was considering having it submitted for record status.

According to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, the current ice fishing world record for a tip-up-caught lake trout is 29 pounds, 6 ounces. It was caught in 1996 in Willoughby Lake in Vermont.

MNR officials would not say whether their investigation focuses on an over-limit issue or more specifically on the large lake trout.

Scott said he has a nonresident Ontario conservation fishing license. According to Ontario fishing regulations, that allows him to catch and possess one lake trout. He had caught a roughly 4-pound lake trout early in the morning on Feb. 8, he said. That fish was on the ice when two Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers came by to check him, Scott said.

After he caught the big lake trout early in the afternoon, he kept it and gave the smaller lake trout to his nephew, who was fishing not far away on the lake, Scott said.

Ontario fishing regulations define a catch limit this way: “The catch limit is the number of fish you are allowed to catch and keep in one day and includes fish that are not immediately released and any fish eaten or given away.”

“I mean, it was the heat of the moment,” Scott said in Wednesday’s telephone interview. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

“What I know to date is that on Monday the DNR came by to investigate my fishing on LLC (Lac La Croix) on Feb 8th and the possibility of an over-limit catch,” Scott wrote in an e-mail to the News Tribune on Wednesday.

MNR conservation officers apparently learned about Scott’s second lake trout after it was reported in the media.

Scott, who owns Scott’s Peaceful Valley Resort on Crane Lake, said two Minnesota DNR conservation officers came to his home Monday evening and interviewed him about the lake trout he caught on Feb. 8. The officers were Darrin Kittelson of International Falls and Mark Fredin of Aurora, Kittelson said. They were acting in cooperation with MNR enforcement officials.

“It’s under investigation,” Kittelson said. “Part of the investigation was to interview Mr. Scott in regard to the large trout that was caught.”

“I am not denying that it was a violation of the ‘party fishing’ rules, and I got caught,” Scott said in a statement by e-mail to the News Tribune on Wednesday.

Kittelson said the fish is in the possession of the Minnesota DNR and that the agency is making arrangements to transport the fish to MNR officials in Ontario.

“Knowing the importance of this fish being a world-record fish, we’re taking the utmost care to keep it in the same shape it was in when Mr. Scott brought it to the taxidermist,” Kittelson said.

Tags: updates, news, outdoors, dnr, fishing

I tried to post Sam Cook's (DNT Outdoors Editor) article. Readers can go to the Duluth News-Tribune website to get the story. All I can say, after over 25 years of fishing in Canada, I found the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources officers as very sharp and fair game wardens. If they smell something here, and our DNR agrees, then this is a big story. Read the DNT for yourselves folks...and then decide for yourselves.

St. Paul Pioneer Press also has a story in this morning's edition on this subject. You can view it by going to their website. The story has legs.

I hope he loses his fishing privileges in Canada for life. Braggart. Lawbreaker.

hard rock: Bully Robert Scott isn't going to have his way with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. But that won't stop him. He will pound a square peg through a round hole with the mindset he will teach the MNR a lesson. I know him, I've watched him operate. Many of us thought a career in the Navy would make a man out of him. Didn't work. Crane Lake people tell me he intimidates people regularly.

I see in the Duluth News Tribune that the bully Robert Scott was arrested, fined and ego busted. It won't stop him. But it was encouraging that the DNT would report the story. Now let's see if the Timberjay, in the interest of fair reporting, also has a feature on this lawbreaker.

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