Montana angler shatters 55-year state record with brown trout catch

The fish came up to 32 pounds 6 ounces. It was 37 inches long with a 28.5-inch girth.
The fish came up to 32 pounds 6 ounces. It was 37 inches long with a 28.5-inch girth.(Robbie Dockter)
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 11:52 AM CST
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CONRAD, M.T. - It was a quiet evening for former Glendive angler Robbie Dockter and his daughter out on the Marias River March 3.

They weren’t having much luck until it was nearly dark out. They were about ready to call it a night, but one last cast ended with the catch of his life.

“I hooked into something really... really heavy. That’s when I knew we had something really good,” said Dockter.

Dockter was thinking the fish was a buffalo carp or lake trout, but it ended up being a huge brown trout.

“We saw the girth of it and that’s when we knew we had something super special.”

With a 4-pound line, Dockter and his daughter worked downriver to capture the beast. They were able to lure it to the shallows and trap it.

Dockter says a life goal was to land a 10-pounder in Montana. At first glance, he assumed it was over 20. When they got back to the pickup, his scale showed approximately 32 pounds. When they returned to where they had cell service, Dockter asked his daughter to look up the record.

“She told me the state record is from 1966, and it was 29 pounds,” he said. “Well yeah that’s cool, but what is the state record now? She’s like ‘that is the state record dad.’”

After that, he knew he was going to have to look into this and see if his catch was actually record-breaking.

He went online to see what he needed to do to certify the fish. He visited his local supermarket to weigh the fish again. The scale maxed out at 30 pounds, meaning he would have to find a larger one. He got in contact with a game warden and used a 100-pound scale elsewhere to get an accurate reading.

The fish came up to 32 pounds 6 ounces. It was 37 inches long with a 28.5-inch girth.

On March 10, Dockter said fish biologists came to identify the fish as a brown trout.

“It’s a very long process,” he said.

All the forms and paperwork needed to confirm the record is now being sent to Helena for final approval and soon Dockter will be the new record holder for brown trout in Montana after 55 years.

“It’s really an honor, it’s just crazy to think that fish like that exists and all it takes is one cast. That’s what makes fishing so cool,” said Dockter.

Dockter will take his trout to a taxidermist next week for a skin mount. He plans on donating the carcass to FWP for research and to identify its age and eating habits.

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