If you’ve been fishing for any length of time in Colorado, you probably know what an Arctic char is. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, the Arctic char is commonly found in alpine lakes and Arctic coastal waters.
Now to our story, and this is no wild fishing tale.
The Dillon Reservoir is one of Colorado’s largest. In November 2017, it yielded a record catch by a vacationing physician, Dr. Lindsay Regali of Charlottesville, Virginia. Along with her husband and a local guide, Lindsay landed a record lunker. Certified by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), the fish set a new state record, “weighing in at 4.15 pounds and 23.5 inches in length, breaking the previous record of 3.75 pounds and 20.5 inches, caught in Dillon Reservoir in 1994 by Marshall Brenner.”
Up until the record catch that day, Lindsay had taken a back seat to her husband, who had been catching one fish after another. But that changed after she hooked one that she knew was bigger than anything her husband had landed. All eyes were popping when she got the char into the boat. Describing herself as a casual angler, Lindsay had been more interested in the “sights surrounding Dillon Reservoir more so than what lay beneath the surface.” Being in the midst of the Rocky Mountains, with snow coming down, was a unique experience in itself. Landing a record fish was icing on the cake.
In the 1990s, CPW first began a stocking process in the reservoir. “After a 10-year break, agency biologists began stocking the slow-growing fish again between 2008 and 2015.” Time and patience have rewarded CPW’s efforts. This cousin to salmon and trout now lives in significant numbers in the reservoir.
Area Aquatic Biologist Jon Ewert expectations are that Lindsay’s catch is indicative of increasingly larger fish and a growing population. He’s hopeful that the news of this record catch “will attract other anglers to Dillon to see if they can break her record.”
Fishing started at an early age for Lindsay, thanks to her dad whose instructions were obviously heeded. Now she has a state record, the experience of which will last her a lifetime. “I immediately texted my parents from the boat and sent them a picture. I knew my dad especially would think it was pretty cool,” she said.
What makes Lindsay’s experience even more special is that the Dillon Reservoir “is the only public body of water in the lower 48 states, outside of Maine, in which Arctic char can be caught. Most populations are found in Canada and the arctic regions.”