State-Record Trout Disqualified Because Angler Didn’t Have a Fishing License

by Vern Evans

Old-fashioned detective work revealed the man had bought his license after he caught the fish, then told a game warden he’d caught it at night

kody king idaho record tiger trout

Kody King (pictured) with the state-record tiger trout that he caught illegally last May. Photograph by Idaho Department of Fish and Game

There’s been a shake up in the Idaho fishing records book, as state officials were forced to rescind an angler’s record nearly six months after it was certified. Unlike other recent fishing-records scandals, there was no doubt as to the true weight of Kody King’s tiger trout, which nearly doubled the existing record for the species. The issue with King’s record, according to an article published Friday in the Idaho State-Journal, was that he didn’t have a valid fishing license at the time.

As we reported last spring, King caught the fish from Montpelier Reservoir in late May, and it weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces on a certified scale. Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game explained in a congratulatory press release that King’s trout easily beat out the previous record of roughly 4 pounds 13 ounces that was set in 2020.

But IDFG conservation officer Kolby White told the State-Journal that he was suspicious of King’s record from the start. White said King left him a voicemail on May 26 stating that he’d caught the fish from the reservoir the night before. However, the photo that King submitted to the agency was clearly taken during the daytime.

“[The picture] threw me off a little bit because I knew exactly where that photo was taken at the Montpelier Reservoir and it definitely wasn’t taken at nighttime,” White said. “[So] that sort of piqued my interest because [King] said that he caught the fish at night.”

White started his investigation by looking King up in the agency’s system, where he saw that King had purchased a one-day, non-resident fishing license around 2 p.m. on the same day he claimed to have caught the fish. White then went back to Montpelier Reservoir and over the course of a day, he took a series of photographs in the same location where King was standing in the photo he submitted.

“Based on all my photographs, it was obvious that the fish was caught sometime between noon and 1 p.m.,” White said. “So, with all that information we conducted an interview with [King] and eventually once we showed him our pictures he admitted to catching and killing the fish and then traveling into town to purchase a license after the fact.”

King was subsequently cited for two misdemeanors, and he entered a guilty plea on Oct. 25 for fishing without a license and unlawful possession of wildlife. He was ordered to pay $983 in fines and restitution, and he had had his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges suspended for a year. He was also ordered to make a public apology that was published in the local newspaper.

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“My actions were thoughtless and irresponsible, and I fully accept the consequences of my behavior,” King wrote in a letter published in the News Examiner in November. “I have pled guilty to the charge of fishing without a license, as well as keeping a fish illegally and I am cooperating with the authorities to rectify this situation.”

By the time King entered his guilty plea, IDFG had already rescinded his record and restored Gatlynn Mayes’ 4-plus-pound tiger trout to its rightful place in the record book.

Fishing without a valid license is an avoidable mistake. It can also be a costly one, and King’s $983 fine is nothing compared to the pro bass angler who lost out on a $100,000 purse when he accidentally fished an entire tournament without a valid license.

Read the full article here

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