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As It Was: Fisherman Lands 12-Pound Trout in Lake Siskiyou

Siskiyou County fisherman Dick Bliss wasn’t sure whether he had landed a salmon or a trout while fishing on Lake Siskiyou on Jan. 19, 1978. The 31-inch fish weighed 12 pounds.

Bliss knew that in general only land-locked salmon reach such proportions, but after careful inspection the fish turned out to be a brown trout, one that had long survived predators and lake poisonings. The fish was believed to be between six and eight years old.

Bliss recalled later that he had only caught one fish that day. He not only caught the trout and landed it, with much patience and ingenuity, but also served it for dinner – for days.

The fish got a revenge of sorts. During one meal a large bone caught in Bliss’s throat and he was rushed to the hospital for its removal.

While Bliss’s fish tale went down in history, fishing remains an enjoyable activity to this day in Siskiyou County, Calif., waters full of salmon, steelhead and trout.

The search for another 12-pounder is to a fisherman what a large gold nugget discovery is to a miner, a never ending quest that keeps the search alive.

Source: Frank, Emille A. "A Fish Tale." Weed Press 19 July 1979 [Weed, Calif.]. Print.

Lisa Gioia is the director of the Siskiyou County Museum in Yreka, California. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a B.A. in anthropology (1997), a Master’s Degree in History with a minor in public history (2008) and specialized in oral histories.