Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Angler Has Twin Fishing Tales from Little Red River

Angler Mitch Holland couldn’t believe his luck.

Almost a week to the day since he caught a brown trout measuring roughly 29 inches, he was back in the same spot at the exact same moment — 7:31 a.m. — of the Little Red River with a nearly identical big brown trout suddenly at the end of his line. He secured the fish, took a photo and released it back to the Greers Ferry Lake tailwater, just as he had eight days earlier.

And Holland wondered, considering the fish seemed the same size as his previous catch, and he was in the same vicinity and at the same time of morning: Could this have been the same trout?

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Communications Division forwarded that query on to Christy Graham, the AGFC's Trout Management Program coordinator, who had an answer. (We've included another photo of his previously mentioned catch along with this story and had Graham take a look.)

"It is not the same fish," Graham said. "You can tell by looking at the spot patterns they are two different fish. Spots are like fingerprints and you can use that as a way to compare. Note how many spots are on the cheek of the (first) fish … compared with the picture from (last week). Other spots do not line up either.

"Quite a coincidence they were caught at the same time of day in a similar location. There are not a whole lot of those big guys out there, so that's pretty awesome.”

Graham said, though, that it's not all that unusual for the same big fish to be caught multiple times.

“I know of some guides on the White who catch the same big trophy fish over and over. One I heard about was caught seven times in one year by one of the guides. If you know what they like and where they hang out, I guess it's easier to catch them repeatedly."

In this case, the previous brown trout just happened to have a big buddy in the area and Holland was able to hook him. He has a pretty good success rate of big browns going on the Little Red now. He told us after his first catch that he'd been waiting all his life to catch a brown trout like that.

"I can’t believe I got two of them that close to the same size," he said last week after his second trophy catch.

Holland, who lives in Cabot, is originally from Cody, Wyoming. He recently retired from the U.S. Air Force after 21 years. He said he tries to make it up to the Little Red at least once a week to fish, though he runs a small business building custom fly rods that takes up a lot of his time (see Brown Fish Custom Fly Rods on Instagram).

“I’ve been fly-fishing and tying flies for about 30 years, it’s my passion,” he said. “I absolutely love brown trout, which is why I named my business after them. They are so beautiful.”

In case you’re wondering about the fly pattern Holland used, he says it’s a “game changer.”

“I tied that one in the picture myself with eight articulations in it to give it more action than the original pattern,” he said. “I can catch a lot more fish fishing something smaller, but I was trying to catch a monster!”

It looks like he’s right on both counts.

If you missed the report on Holland’s impressive back-to-back catches, subscribers to the AGFC’s emailed weekly Fishing Report newsletter receive exclusive content on angler catches and photos, news on what’s biting and where around the state, and the latest from AGFC’s Fisheries Division’s many projects around The Natural State. To subscribe and receive the newsletter every Thursday, visit https://go.agfc.com/agfc-newsletter-sign-up?_gl=1*67b7wm*_ga*MTkyOTAxMTQyNS4xNjk5MDM3NDgx*_ga_4C9QCEC47W*MTcxNjMwOTI3Ny4xNzAuMS4xNzE2MzEwMjQ0LjQ0LjAuMA.

Also, anglers, guides, bait shop owners and happy grandparents thrilled to show off what their grandchildren might have hauled in for a first fish are encouraged to submit their photo memories for the weekly Fishing Report newsletter. Email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with your photo.