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30-pound trout sets SD state record

Aaron Jones, of Rapid City, holds the South Dakota state record lake trout he caught Jan. 23 at Pactola Reservoir. The fish weighed in at 30 pounds and was 41 inches long. (Photo courtesy of The Rooster Sporting Goods)

RAPID CITY -- A new state record lake trout was caught Jan. 23 from Pactola Reservoir by Aaron Jones, of Rapid City.

Weighing in at 30 pounds even, the record lake trout surpassed the previous record, held by Steve Matheny, by more than a pound. Jones' lake trout measured 41 inches in length with a 24½ inch girth.

Lake trout are a non-native trout species present in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Stocking records indicate the first lake trout stocking in South Dakota occurred in Belle Fourche Reservoir in 1914 with subsequent stockings in various locations throughout western South Dakota over the next few decades.

Beginning in 1972, lake trout were stocked in Lake Oahe on the Missouri River system on an almost annual basis until 1985. During that time, the first recorded stocking in Pactola Reservoir occurred with stockings in 1977 and 1978, and there were additional stockings in 2003 and 2005.

For a fish to qualify as a state record, the angler must get the fish weighed on a certified scale (available at many local grocery stores), have the species verified by a fisheries biologist or ichthyologist, and fill out a form that can be found on the state Game, Fish and Parks Department website.