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8-year-old Sandpoint girl shatters Idaho catch-and-release record

Sophie Egizi, 8, of Sandpoint, poses with her catch-and-release record-breaking Gerrard rainbow trout on Oct. 11, 2019. Egizi, who’s joined by Capt. Bob Wiley of Pend Oreille Charters, named the fish “Old Man Sparkles.” (Bob Egizi / COURTESY)
Sophie Egizi, 8, of Sandpoint, poses with her catch-and-release record-breaking Gerrard rainbow trout on Oct. 11, 2019. Egizi, who’s joined by Capt. Bob Wiley of Pend Oreille Charters, named the fish “Old Man Sparkles.” (Bob Egizi / COURTESY)
By Nicole Blanchard The Idaho Statesman

BOISE – 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.

“She told (us) she was going to catch the record trout,” Capt. Bob Wiley of Pend Oreille Charters told the Statesman in an email. “And that she did.”

According to Wiley, the fish bit just 15 minutes after Egizi 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,” 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.

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