Quakertown man catches potential Pennsylvania record golden rainbow trout

Video world record palomino trout

Catching the largest fish of any species is something of which to be proud, earning anglers bragging rights and often a prominent place in the record books.

For Mychael Althouse of Quakertown, landing a record-size trout meant something more important, so much so that he passed on the chance to have his name added to the books. More about that gesture later.

Fishing on the Little Lehigh Creek in the Lehigh Parkway on April 9, Althouse caught an extremely large golden rainbow trout, which many anglers refer to as a palomino. The 42-year-old was angling on a stretch of the creek near the Allentown Police Academy he had visited many times since he started fishing with his grandfather, Kenneth Althouse, decades ago.

“I grew up in Allentown,” Althouse said. “I still fish the Little Lehigh. I go back and that’s the only place I fish.”

Althouse, who was with friend Brian Kleckner Sr. of Allentown, said he latched onto the fish around 8:30 or 9 a.m. He and his grandfather had always fished with bread, and that was his bait of choice that morning.

“I didn’t really realize what I had until I started to get it in a little bit and then it got mad and took off,” Althouse said. “It stretched my pole pretty good. It was a good 10- to 15-minute fight and I was only fishing with 4-pound test so I was nervous [it would break free].”

When it came time to land the fish, Althouse and Kleckner had to improvise, since neither had a net large enough to scoop the trout. He said Kleckner jumped into the water, grabbed the trout by its gills and pulled it ashore.

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Althouse then took the fish to Archery at the Glenn in Allentown to have it weighed and measured, with the 31-inch trout checking in at a whopping 13 pounds, 11 ounces. Brian Glenn, owner of Archery at the Glenn, confirmed that Althouse brought in the trout at that weight.

“It’s the largest [golden rainbow trout] we’ve ever seen and it’s the largest I’ve weighed in at the shop,” Glenn said.

It looked big to Althouse, too.

“This one was definitely the biggest trout I’ve caught,” Althouse said. “I caught one a couple of years ago that was 28 1/2 inches, 8 pounds. It was another palomino, believe it or not.”

Because the fish was so large, Althouse contacted the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

Brendan Ryan, waterways conservation officer for Bucks County, told him the record for a golden trout was set in 2008. That fish — a 13-pound, 8-ounce specimen — was caught by Eli Borger of Palmerton, then 12 years old, while angling on the Mahoning Creek in Schuylkill County.

Once he learned the fish had been caught by a boy, Althouse said he decided it wasn’t a record he wanted to pursue.

“I said he was probably like 14 years old,” Althouse said. “If I was 14 and I held the record for the biggest trout in Pennsylvania, it would probably mean a whole lot to me, so I told Brendan just let him have it.”

Although Althouse opted not to have the fish certified as a state record, it’s a trophy he’ll cherish, primarily because it reminds him of the many wonderful experiences he had fishing with his grandfather over the years. The trout is at Hovan’s Taxidermy in Pennsburg and will be placed on one of the walls of Althouse’s home when it’s finished being mounted later this year.

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“This fish was more symbolic for my grandfather,” Althouse said. “Up on the wall, the memories of fishing on the Little Lehigh all my life is good enough for me. That [kid] will go on and hold the record for now, and that’s a good thing.”

Mark Demko is a freelance writer. Contact him at mdemko@ptd.net or follow him on Twitter at @markdemko1.

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