Capt. Kenny Kreeger holds the No. 2 spot for speckled trout in the all-time Louisiana State Fish Records for a monster he caught Jan. 31, 1999, while fishing Lake Pontchartrain. That’s quite an accomplishment in one of the two most-coveted categories of the program.
“I caught the fish under the Highway 11 bridge on a queen-size sparkle beetle,” Kreeger said nonchalantly.
The fish weighed 11.99 pounds.
“(The Department of) Wildlife and Fisheries (biologists) met me at the taxidermist and took out its otoliths,” Kreeger said. “Later, they told me that it was a 7-year-old female.
“They said speckled trout don’t live much longer than that.”
Some feel that Kreeger’s fish should be certified as the No. 1 speckled trout in the record books and that the current fish should be removed from the records because of rumors that abound about Leon Mattes’s 12.38-pound speck, which the records list as being caught in Lake Hermitage in April 1950.
Some maintain Mattes’ fish was caught in Florida and brought to Louisiana as a joke that got out of control. Most people agree that Lake Hermitage was and is very poor speckled trout habitat — especially for female fish — which this fish almost certainly was.
Male speckled trout migrate to low-salinity waters during December and hold there through February in most years. Most females overwinter in higher-salinity waters.
Probably most damaging is one of the few photos of the fish that exist: It very clearly shows what appear to be three gill-net rings on the fish, and they are located exactly where one would expect them to be on a fish shaped like a speckled trout. Most obvious is the one around the middle of the fish, its fattest part.