MOUNTAIN HOME – An Arkansas fishing mark that had held for nearly 33 years finally fell last weekend when a Kansas angler making an annual trek with friends to the White River pulled in a cutthroat trout weighing 10 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch was certified by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s chief of fisheries today.
Mike Bowers of Abilene, Kansas, who said he has fished these waters for longer than the record had held and who makes two or three trips to Arkansas’s northern trout streams each year, caught the 26-inch-long trout on a No. 15 baitholder hook with salmon eggs in the Norfork Tailwater (North Fork of the White River). He landed it in front of Gene’s Trout Fishing Resort. At first, he and his fishing partner, Jack Wickersham, thought Bowers had a brown trout on the line before pulling it in and noting the distinctive cutthroat marks. Onlookers at Gene’s sensed it was something special, and the scale on the dock indicated as much.
“Several of them said, ‘That’s a new state record.’ Those guys all started taking pictures and I didn’t know a one of them,” Bowers said. “Guys were coming down to the dock from out of their cabins or floating over there to see it.”
The previous record from the White River was 9 pounds, 9 ounces, set Oct. 6, 1985.
“To be honest, it didn’t fight real hard,” Bowers said. “It was a much older fish, the biologist said, and it was docile. We drifted downstream with it naturally, had the drag out about 70-80 percent, I’d feel the drag and I’d pull it back in.”
The trout was caught during a minimum flow period on the river, about 12:30 p.m. on