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Lake Watonga produces new state record

by Ed Godfrey Published: November 21, 2013
Mark Reed of Bridge Creek holds the new state record rainbow trout caught from Lake Watonga
Mark Reed of Bridge Creek holds the new state record rainbow trout caught from Lake Watonga

Mark Reed certainly wasn’t expecting to break a nearly 50-year-old state record when he decided to go trout fishing last Sunday at Lake Watonga.

“Never in my wildest dreams I thought I would catch a fish that big,” Reed said of the 10-pound, 10-ounce rainbow trout that he hooked his favorite trout lure, a copper and red-headed Super Duper. “That’s the last thing you are thinking about.”

Reed’s rainbow trout is the new state record, breaking the old record of 10 pounds, 4 ounces set in 1966 on the Lower Illinois River by Billy Payne.
Reed kept the big fish on ice overnight then had it weighed on a certified scale at William’s grocery store in Tuttle on Monday.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation announced Thursday that Reed was the new state record-holder.
“I wouldn’t want to catch one of those every day, there is too much excitement involved in it,” said the 61-year-old Reed, an asphalt foreman for Rudy Construction.
Reed’s record likely hadn’t been swimming in Lake Watonga for very long. The lake in Roman Nose State Park is stocked with hatchery-raised trout each winter, one of the Wildlife Department’s six winter trout areas that opened Nov. 1.
Trout in Lake Watonga normally don’t survive Oklahoma summers. Or the big bass in the lake. Reed’s fish was likely a brooder, a trout the hatchery used in reproduction.
Once those brooder fish are old enough that they have outlived their usefulness, they are put in the trout truck with the rest of the rainbows for delivery to the fishing destinations.
Reed, who lives in Bridge Creek, is a regular visitor at Lake Watonga, fishing there every trout season since 1999.
The biggest rainbow that Reed pulled from Watonga before Sunday weighed 6 ½-pounds. He won the Watonga trout derby two years ago with a fish that weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces.
“Every big fish I have caught out of that lake has been on a Super Duper,” he said.
Reed was fishing Sunday on the west bank of the lake with a 5-6 Berkley rod and a Zebco Omega zO2 reel spooled with 6-pound test Spiderwire fishing line.
Reed said he had been fishing for almost and hour and a half Sunday without a bite when he cast the Super Duper toward one of his favorite fishing points in a cove.
“There is a little cover in there straight across from the camping area,” he said. “I was on that cover.
“He hit it immediately. I jerked to set the hook. I knew I had something on there big. I played with him for a good 15 minutes before I got him to the bank.”
Reed is having the fish mounted. He then plans to loan it temporarily to the store in Roman Nose State Park for display.

by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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