Denis Woodcox caught the world’s largest kokanee and barbecued it before realizing it was a trophy fish.
LISTEN: Denis Woodcox told his story on CKNW’s The Jon McComb Show:
When Woodcox and his son went on a camping trip near Lower Arrow Lake, they spotted something that looked like a bumper floating in the water.
“I said, ‘Let’s go take a look,’ so we cruised over and there’s this great big fish laying there on top of the water and it never stirred, just lay there like it was dead,” he recalled.
Presuming the fish had been caught and released by someone else, he decided to check it for a fishing lure.
Pulling his boat up alongside it, he grabbed it by the tail and tried to get his arms underneath it. With that, the fish started fighting back.
“Finally I got it up high enough that I could throw it over my shoulder into the boat and we knocked it on the head. We were laughing the whole time, it was so funny,” he said.
Woodcox never thought the fish could be a kokanee due to its size and assumed it was a big rainbow trout.
He decided to put it on ice and freeze it when they returned home.
It was a number of months later that he took it out, preparing it to be brined and noticed it was very oily.
“I said, ‘You know this isn’t what I think it is.'”
He prepared it and gave some pieces to his neighbours who encouraged him to investigate further.
After consulting with a local biologist who believed it to be a kokanee, provincial government biologists got involved and took samples from the leftover skeleton and head.
Woodcox said biologists studied it over the next 18 months.
“It took a year-and-a-half for the samples to come back 100 per cent proof that it was a kokanee and it somehow missed its cycle and lived to be seven years old.”
Finding the whole situation hilarious, Woodcox is contemplating whether he should retrieve the skeleton from the ministry and make a replica of the prize fish.
“It’s a pretty funny story so it would be one to mount so that you can remember that story for years to come.”
As for the taste, Woodcox said it was delicious, “It couldn’t have been in any better shape. It was just perfect meat like you couldn’t believe.”