Photos: 55-Year-Old Montana State Record for Brown Trout Broken on 4-lb. Test

Photos: 55-Year-Old Montana State Record for Brown Trout Broken on 4-lb. Test

In the state perhaps most highly regarded for brown trout, a record has fallen that stood since 1966. At 7:30 p.m. on the night of Wednesday, March 3, Robbie Dockter of Conrad, Montana, landed a 32-pound, 6-ounce fish in the Marias River that will supplant the old record by a full 3 and a half pounds.

Dockter, a 42-year-old lineman for Sun River Electric, accidentally ran over his cellphone on Wednesday, but provided an interview to MeatEater Thursday night via Facebook Messenger.

Dockter has been fishing with his 13-year-old daughter Sierra, who he calls Sis, her entire life. They’ve developed a tradition of hitting the water together every Wednesday they can. This week was no different. Daughter got out of school, father got off work, the pair headed to the river.

“She is a stud, catches big fish and kills big deer,” Dockter said of his daughter. “She kills bigger bucks than most grown-ups. She lives for ducks.”

They typically fish spoons from the bank from about 5 p.m. until after dark. Dockter self-identifies as “a walleye guy who’s turned into a brown trout guy over the last 10 years.” They stayed a little extra late in the evening, as walleye anglers love to do, and were glad they did. Forty-five minutes after last light, Dockter’s small, brown trout-colored Kastmaster spoon just stopped.

“I thought I had a laker or a buffalo. Just nasty, heavy weight,” Dockter said. That was exacerbated by the fact that he was running only 4-pound-test line. After 15 minutes, they finally saw what they had.

“Then we had it 10 feet from shore and it rolled. That’s when I knew I had something special,” he said. “It just looked like a 15-pound brown giant but then it rolled. It was in Sis and my headlamp and it freaked. It was shocking. She said, ‘Holy shit!’ And she don’t cuss.”

Sierra was holding the net, but Robbie relieved her of duty at the last minute with such a victory on the line.

“I got a video right after I caught it and weighed it,” he said. “I almost cry.”

They took their time getting pictures before taking the 37-inch fish in for official measurements.

“My daughter thought we broke the world record for a bit last night. [She] did all the research on the way home.”

“I knew it was something special so wanted to make it 100% right,” Dockter said. “It bottomed out the scale here in Conrad, so we went to Valier and called the warden to meet us.”

Dockter said from his conversations with Montana officials he expects his fish will be certified as the new state record next week.

The now-former Montana State Record Brown Trout was a 29-pound Wade Lake monster caught by angler E.H. Peck Bacon in 1966. It carried a mystical reverence among angling circles in the Big Sky State, as longstanding records often do. Asked how he felt about topping that high bar, Dockter said he’d never even dreamed so big.

“Well, I’m humbled and honored, and actually still a little in shock,” Dockter said. “I hoped to catch a 10-pound brown someday.”

Featured images via Sierra Dockter.


Kalon O Blackout Spinning Reel
Save this product
13 Fishing

At home both in open water and in the frozen tundra, 13 Fishing Kalon O Spinning Reels are performance-proven and tested by the most rugged and rowdy anglers we know.

YETI Hopper M30 Soft Cooler
Save this product

Whether you're into suds, brewskis, seltzers, or vino, if it comes in a can or bottle and is best served cold, the Hopper M30 is the ticket.

Mermaid's Trident Zesty Seafood Blend
Save this product

A bright citrus-based blend that is balanced with earthy notes of smokey chardonnay and mild heat to round it out. This unique combination is incredibly versatile, perfectly pairs with your latest catch, fresh garden veggies, or atop roasted potatoes. 

Inception Baitcast Reel
Save this product
13 Fishing

A lightweight body and super low-profile design provide incredible comfort during long days on the water.

Omen Black Spinning Rod
Save this product
13 Fishing

Japanese 36 Ton Toray Graphite , 4A Portuguese Cork Handle, ALPS 316 Stainless Steel Guides with Zirconia Inserts.

Loadout Gobox 30
Save this product

The MeatEater crew uses our GoBoxes for storing all kinds of gear, from ammo and range hardware to outdoor kitchen essentials.

Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content and gear
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
Your one-stop for everything waterfowl, with Sean Weaver
Get out on the water with the MeatEater Fishing crew
Technical hunting apparel
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls
Save this article