Salesville, Arkansas - Billy J. Meeks of Wylie, Texas set a
new Arkansas record for brook trout earlier this month on the North
Fork River and he can thank his wife for the catch.
Meeks’ brookie officially weighed an even five pounds, easily
bettering the 2000 record of 4 pounds, 12 ounces, set on the on the
same river by Greg Corkin of Norfork.
Meeks and his wife were vacationing at Gene’s Trout Resort when he
reeled in the new record. “My wife had to go to the
bathroom, so I pulled the boat up to the dock. While she was in the
bathroom, I decided to fish near the dock. I caught two or three
right away that were nice sizes, but I knew I had a big fish when
this one hit,” Meeks said.
The new record brook trout was 18 ˝ inches long and measured 15 ˝
inches around the middle.
Meeks caught his fish about 8 p.m. He works as a detective in the
Plano, Texas Police Department. This was not his first trip to the
North Fork. “My wife and I have been coming up there for three years
and we like to stay several days. I love to trout fish and we don’t
have any trout fishing in the Dallas area,” he explained.
Meeks caught the new record with pink Power Bait on four-pound test
line. “I like to use orange, but someone told us that they were
hitting hot pink Power Bait, so I picked up a jar,” he said.
After Meeks brought in the brook trout, Ken Shirley of Mountain
Home, a research biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission, verified its species and witnessed the weighing on
certified scales at the Norfork post office.
Brook trout are one of four species of trout stocked in the cold
water sections of Arkansas streams. Brookies are the newest of the
four, coming along in the 1980s and preceded by rainbow trout, brown
trout and cutthroat trout. Some lake trout have also been stocked in
the state, but not on a continuing basis.
To some anglers, brookies are the premier trout, though they are
smaller on the average than most of the other species. Brook trout
are the first-line fish of many of the acclaimed trout waters of the
East, the North and the West. Brook trout are also highly popular
with fly-fishing enthusiasts, and “getting a brookie to rise” is
often a highlight of a fly fisherman's outing.