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11-year-old Colorado boy catches trout the size of a toddler

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Matthew Wilson and his son Tanner were out fishing in their home state of Colorado earlier this month when 11-year-old Tanner reeled in something pretty extraordinary: A three-foot lake trout. Wilson told CBS News he believes the fish his son caught was about 30 to 35 pounds, or about the size of a toddler.

Wilson said he and his son go fishing regularly at a nearby reservoir — but he said they've never caught a fish quite like this one. "Once in a lifetime catch," he said, adding the pair is "Always hoping for something bigger. Hard one to beat."

Tanner caught the lake trout, a freshwater fish also known as a mackinaw, on his line and reeled it in for about 15 minutes, Wilson said. He added that he helped his son capture the massive creature in a net when it got close enough to the pair. 

Wilson said the fish, measuring in at 35 inches long, was the biggest one his son had ever caught. A common length for lake trout is 19.7 inches, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The largest ever recorded clocked in at 59 inches long.

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Tanner poses with the massive lake trout. Matthew Wilson

"Tanner's first words were 'Oh my gosh, the things huge. We gotta take some pictures and get this back the [sic] water,'" Wilson said. 

Wilson said he captured the image of his son holding the fish with both hands before he threw the trout back into the reservoir. "We let the trout go — love 'em and leave them, as they say," Wilson explained. 

The pair have been fishing after Tanner finishes up his virtual schoolwork for the day, as his school has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Totally helps to get out," Wilson said. "It's esential [sic] as long as we all stay safe."

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