- Great Lakes
- Great Plains
- Rocky Mountains
- Trophy Catches
The Cheyenne angler broke the tiger trout record May 21 at High Savery Reservoir and on May 30 guided his good friend Charles Lammey of Colorado Springs to an even bigger fish. With confidence, Occhipinti says there are more chapters to this record tiger trout saga.
“I’m going to beat him this August,” the retired electrician says with an air of both determination and humor. “If not then, then next May for sure.”
He should be believed. He fished the young reservoir about 35 miles south of Rawlins for the first time this spring with the purpose of breaking Wyoming’s record for the brook/brown trout cross. After landing the 2.18 pound, 18.5 inch fish on a customized Rapala, he called the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for specific instructions to make sure the record got on the books.
With that information, he and his brother Mike rushed into Rawlins and had the green fish with mottled vermiculations, or squiggly stripes, weighed on a certified scale. They returned to the reservoir and proceeded to catch several more tiger trout larger than the previous 17.6-inch, 1.79-pound record caught April 28, 2007.
The annual Occhipinti and friends Memorial Day fishing excursion moved on to Seminoe Reservoir where Lammey met up with the party. As the fishing stagnated, they decided to finish the tour back at High Savery. They were within an hour of calling the trip history on May 30, when the new record hit the same customized Rapala trolled by Lammey.
At first glance of the fish, Occhipinti said to his fishing buddy, “I think you beat me.”
Lammey’s fish weighed .20 more and stretched one half inch longer, but he gives his guide all the credit. “John taught me this business of fishing,” Lammey said. “Thank John for figuring these tiger trout out.”
Through five days of High Savery fishing on the trip, Occhipinti and friends boated 55 tiger trout and only killed the two state records.
Reclaiming the record next month is only the first step in Occhipinti’s tiger trout strategy. “My plan is to put a 3-pounder on the wall below my first fish, then a 4-pounder, then a 5-pounder and so on,” he chuckles. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
Don’t be surprised if he guides a friend or two to state records to make the fishing even more challenging.
The North American tiger trout record weighed 20 pounds 13 ounces and was caught on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan in August 1978.
High Savery Reservoir was stocked with Colorado River cutthroat, kokanee salmon and tiger trout in June 2005. Tiger trout were chosen as part of the recipe – the only introduction in Wyoming to date – because the hybrid is sterile, it preys on the reservoir’s chubs and suckers and readily cooperates with anglers.
«Back | News Home