In the depth of an Idaho winter, when the water is cold and the fish are hungry, there’s one place, in particular, I like to go. Obviously, I can’t say exactly where, without being shunned from my favorite place on earth. During the summer months, these fish are impossible to catch as they move back into “no fishing zones” where they can beat the summer heat and lurk at the bottoms like the whales they are.

When the food is sparse and the winter is harsh, they are forced out in the open where I can see them. Along with dozens of good size fish lay a giant. A dark mass at the bottom of an ice clear stream, trying not to spook her I manage to get several casts with my 5 wt, into her direct path, landing three 16″-20″ rainbows in the process.

I decide to change my fly to something juicier, something she couldn’t resist. I couldn’t believe the weight at the end of my rod as she darted upstream, then straight back down, taking me downstream with her, running in the ice cold water, almost falling on my face. My rod was bent all the way down, feeling the weight of fish had me nervous I was going to snap my tiny 5 wt trying to land this beast.  I yelled at my husband, Tyler, to get the net, he swiftly replied… “I forgot it..” Panic sets in thinking I may never get to admire this fish up close and personal. Now I know, my only move is to tire her out and slowly reel her in slowly.

After a 15 minute fight, I had her in my grips. She was massive. 30″ on the dot and between 10-12lbs. I didn’t even know how to hold her she was so big. After snapping a couple quick pictures, we put her back where she belonged, lurking the depths and refusing flies. She was the biggest trout I’ve ever caught thus far and I was happy to see her kick water at me as she swam away.  Every once in a while (quite rarely), your day of fishing goes exactly as you hoped it would.

I wish I could tell you she was the biggest fish in there… but she wasn’t. There were bigger ones, smarter, not falling for your fly and I’ll be back for them.

Congratulations to Emily on her biggest trout to date! For more, go check Emily out on Instagram here