Who says mountain whitefish are just a bycatch when you’re chasing trout in the West? Well Alex Dietz of Bend, OR proved that point when he reeled in this 5 POUND 12 OUNCE whitefish from the Deschutes River. Once he got the fish in, he and his fishing partner figured they might have a state record in their net, so they took the fish to a certified scale for confirmation. The pair of anglers pride themselves on typically being catch and release fishermen, but they made an exception for this particular specimen. Check out the full report of the catch in the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife post, below!
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From Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife:
“NEW STATE, POSSIBLE WORLD RECORD MOUNTAIN WHITEFISH CAUGHT IN DESCHUTES RIVER
Avid Bend catch-and-release fly fisherman almost didn’t keep it
Alex Dietz of Bend was fly fishing with an egg pattern on the Deschutes River outside Warm Springs on Dec. 19, 2021 when he hooked a 5 pound 12 oz, 24-inch long mountain whitefish with a 14 inch girth.
“My fishing buddy Jason Schreiber saw that I had a big fish on and came over to check out what was going on,” Dietz explained. “We took pictures of it and kind of laughed about it for awhile.
I was getting ready to let the fish go when we realized this thing could be a state record.”
Dietz is almost exclusively a catch and release angler—but he kept this fish, bringing it to Newport Avenue Market in Bend for an official weigh-in on an Oregon Dept of Agriculture scale as required under the record rules.
ODFW certified the fish as the new state record mountain whitefish on Jan. 7, 2022 (beating the previous record, a 4 lb 14 oz mountain whitefish caught at Crane Prairie Reservoir in 1994 by Roger A Massey).
The mountain whitefish might actually be a world record as the current record is a 5 lb 8 oz whitefish taken by Albert Woo in 1995 from Albert’s River near Calgary according to the International Game Fish Association. Dietz is submitting the information to the IFGA to be certified.
Dietz grew up in Bend and has been fishing since he was in high school. He usually targets trout and steelhead and again, releases just about everything he catches. This record fish is being taxidermized for display at his home.
Beating the record is extra special because Dec. 19 was the first time he’d been fishing since he and his wife Andrea welcomed their first child, a baby girl, on Nov. 15, 2021.
“December 19 was the first time I got the green light from my wife to go fishing, so big thanks to her too,” Dietz said.