By MIKE CORN
WEBSTER RESERVOIR -- Loren Newell is not at all shy about announcing he's got a big wall in his Damar residence.
He'll need it, once the 11 pound, 2 ounce rainbow trout he caught in the stilling basin below Webster Reservoir is mounted and ready to hang.
It was the largest trout he's ever caught, and would have been a record, save for a couple other monsters recently caught in other trout honey holes in the eastern part of Kansas.
He caught the fish on Power Bait.
"The last two limits," he said, "I caught on worms."
It's the giant rainbow that he'll be talking about for a long time to come.
"He just happened to come by," Newell said of the fish. "He tried to pull my pole off the bank."
In fact, when he hit, Newell said he told a nearby angler the fish had to be a carp.
That was not the case, however.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw it," he said.
Newell knew a big lunker was in the water, put there when the still basin last was stocked.
He was told of the big fish by Mark Shaw, fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
"I told him 'I think I'll catch it,' " Newell said of his comment when Shaw spoke of seeing the big fish. "He laughed."
As it turns out, the laugh is on Shaw, who got to see the fish shortly after it was caught by Newell and took several photos.
Officially, the fish weighed 11.275 pounds, Shaw said.
It would have been a record, besting the previous record of about 10 pounds.
But just recently, Shaw said, a 13.6 pound trout was caught in Lake Shawnee, beating out a slightly smaller fish that had been caught only about a week earlier.
The big fish, he said, likely is a cull brood fish from the Nebraska hatchery where KDWP&T buys its trout.
Shaw said the contract calls for an average length of 10 inches, while 5 percent has be in excess of 14 inches long.
"I'm going to get it mounted," Newell said of his fish. "I've got a big wall."
Newell is no stranger to fishing, or trout fishing for that matter.
"I've caught 3-, 4- and 5-pounders," he said.
He does so well because he's fishing "every day it's nice."
Newell works for Webster during the summer, but his free time -- especially in the winter -- is for fishing.
"I do a lot of walleye fishing too," he said. "I usually go five days a week in the winter. When there's ice, I go every day."
This year, it hasn't been cold enough, long enough to make enough ice to support ice fishing.
"Last year at this time, there was 6 inches of ice," he said. "We spent 30 days on the ice last year."
He is a diehard Webster fan, spending virtually all of his fishing moments there.
"I went to Glen Elder last year when the crappie were biting," he said.
Same for Kirwin.
For now, he's waiting for the next big lunker to come his way, hoping the next release will contain another big one.
Ironically, Newell doesn't eat the trout he catches.
"I clean them and give every one of them away," he said.