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MailTribune.com
  • He's a legend at the tender age of 11

  • Sitting out in the middle of Diamond Lake on Memorial Day, the Beal family was anything but stealthy.
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  • Sitting out in the middle of Diamond Lake on Memorial Day, the Beal family was anything but stealthy.
    "We were laughing and having a good time, and I said, 'We'll never catch any fish being this loud,' " says Sonja Beal, of Medford.
    Then her 11-year-old son Jarod's rod doubled over and the reel started screaming. Almost 10 minutes later, the fifth-grader became a local legend at a lake already known for big fish.
    Jarod's 9-pound, 4-ounce fish is the largest trout caught in Diamond Lake in three years and likely the biggest grown in the lake since it was restocked with rainbows in 2007 after it was poisoned in September 2006 to kill off a tui chub infestation.
    Not counting the 8-plus-pound fish stocked there in 2007, this trout weighs a full 2 pounds more than the previous record of slightly more than 7 pounds caught in 2010, says Rick Rockholt, events coordinator at Diamond Lake Resort.
    Beal's trout, which measured 27 inches long, munched a salmon-flavored Berkley Gulp bait.
    Rockholt says Beal's record could be short-lived.
    "There's no way he caught the biggest fish in the lake," Rockholt says. "There's got to be a 10-pounder in there. This just shows it."
    It was an otherwise slow fishing day at this eastern Douglas County trout mecca. A massive chironomid hatch now underway had fish gorging themselves on insects and showing little interest in the doughy baits so popular there.
    Along with his mother, Jarod was fishing out of the family jetboat with his dad, Roy, and 16-year-old sister, Briana, on a day-trip from home. They had caught and released a few smaller trout before Jarod's attention floated to food and frivolity and away from his rod.
    "They started screaming at me because my drag started to go really fast," Jarod says.
    Knowing it was a big trout, Jarod worried it would break his 4-pound-test tippet like a big trout did at Diamond Lake two years ago. But this one found his father's net, and the fight was over.
    "I was nervous and excited," he says.
    He took a photograph of the big trout to New Dimension Christian School in Medford to show to his classmates.
    "They were excited and fascinated," Jarod says.
    After spending much of his free time trying to catch one of Diamond's mega-rainbows, Rockholt admits he's a tad jealous.
    "No matter what, the kid caught my damn fish," Rockholt says.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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