Ryan Mejaski and Joe Wilhite were fishing for kokanee on the Deschutes arm of Lake Billy Chinook when something wild happened. After spotting a group of small kokanee jumping into the air, the pair hopped to it and began fishing. Naturally, Ryan tossed his favorite lure into the mix, but instead of hooking kokanee, he felt his line come tight to something much larger than their target species.

What ensued after must have been chaotic, to say the least. As Ryan lightened his drag to make sure he didn’t lose the fish, the pair motored after it in hopes of getting it into the net.

After the large bull trout slipped into the net, the anglers weighed it on their fishing scale, and the fish maxed out at 25 lbs. Ryan and his partner both believe the fish was somewhere north of 30 lbs, at best guess. If their guess was correct, their fish would have likely beat both the Oregon State Record and the standing Bull Trout World Record, but neither angler knew this, so they made the smart decision to snap some photos and release the fish back into Lake Billy Chinook.

The angler had this to say about the catch, “I’m a little bummed out we didn’t keep it,’ Ryan Mejaski said, ‘but it was the right thing to do at the time.”

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