Walton reeled in a big’n, which he measured himself using a measuring board to verify the length of the smallmouth, and it turned out to be 23.75 inches.
He released the smallmouth back into the reservoir, and finally garnered that state catch-and-release record he had been looking for. In Idaho, catch and release records don’t account for weight, just the length of the fish.
With that being said, Idaho Fish and Game believes that the record could be achieved again this year, as the Dworshak Reservoir is experiencing a time period where there’s an abundant amount of food for the fish living in the reservoir, causing them to grow even more. Another massive smallmouth, over 23 inches was caught in May of 2022.
Still, it’s hard to even fathom reeling in a 23.75 inch smallmouth, considering the rarity of that size.
Needless to say, it was the catch of a lifetime for ol’ Walton.
Joey Walton hoists a 23.75-inch Smallmouth Bass from Dworshak Reservoir, clinching a new catch-and-release state record on Dec. 13, in this photo he shared shared with Idaho Fish and Game. pic.twitter.com/hemWoXAFWp