It was a long and cold fight, but worth the effort when lifelong angler Sam Boucha hauled an estimated 57-pound lake trout through a hole in the ice on March 3 from an unnamed lake near Red Lake, Ontario.
Boucha and her boyfriend, Brad Molloy, took advantage of a day off work to go ice fishing at a lake near Red Lake, located in west-central Ontario north of Kenora. Because their snowmobile was acting up, they decided to fish a different lake than they had planned.
Boucha described catching the laker as a team effort. Courtesy of Sam Boucha
They caught a few fish using ice tackle positioned over holes in the hard water. Then Boucha noticed an ice rod bowed. Its reel was spooled with 50-pound test braided line and tied to a 3/8-ounce jig with a 5-inch sucker. When she picked up the rod it felt like a heavy weight was attached to the end of the line.
The fight lasted nearly an hour, with the stubborn lake trout staying deep and making it tough for Boucha to reel the fish toward the ice. When she finally muscled the fish close enough to see it, the anglers realized the massive laker wouldn’t fit through the hole.
Boucha fought the fish, spit the hook. Boucha grabbed the laker with her bare hands in the lake’s frigid water until Molloy could drill a second hole.
“I was frozen,” says Boucha, who works for a hospital foundation in Red Lake. “It was bare-handed, arm down the 2.5-foot ice hole to my shoulder, holding on to that fish until the second hole was drilled. I could barely hold it.”
Once the second hole opened, Boucha was able to pull it through the widened opening. The fish died in the effort to haul it through the ice, so Boucha decided to mount it. She was delighted with her huge laker, calling it an unreal catch and crediting Molloy in a team effort. They headed to a nearby ice shack to warm up, where they weighed the fish on a hand scale—which bottomed out at 50 pounds.
Boucha (center) with the giant laker. Courtesy of Sam Boucha
Using a length-girth formula to determine its weight, the two calculated the 57.75-inch laker with a 31-inch girth weighed more than 57 pounds. It’s the biggest fish Boucha has ever caught.
Boucha plans to have the trout mounted by a taxidermist. She also provided the pectoral fin and an ocular bone to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to age the fish.
Her catch has been heralded throughout the Red Lake area, and widely on social media.
“[One comment] was from a family friend here in Red Lake and he was like, ‘You’re a fishing goddess.’ I like that,” Boucha said.
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