The fishing tales emanating from Santa Ana River Lakes these days are becoming legendary.
As the stories go, anglers go head-to-head with giant rainbow trout and the giant rainbow trout are winning, leaving fishermen to lament about the big one that got away.
It's being billed as the Legend of 'Loid, as in the huge triploid rainbows produced by Mt. Lassen Trout Farm.
Triploids are sterilized trout that bypass the spawning process and in turn expend all their energy into growing big fast.
The state-record hatchery rainbow is a 271/2-pound 'Loid landed by John Chapman of Anaheim on Christmas Eve 2003 at SARL.
Two trout said to be between the record size and 30 pounds were stocked at SARL almost two weeks ago, and anglers have been trying to catch them ever since.
"A few of them are taking their vacations just for this," said Louie Cervantes of SARL.
That could be because Eagle Claw is offering a $1,000 bounty to the angler who catches the record fish on its products. The biggest thus far is a 25-pounder, but the two huge 'Loids are still swimming and taking on all comers.
Two Saturdays ago, Raul Loya of Los Angeles gave it his best shot, hooking into one of them in Chris' Pond next to the big lake.
"Everybody pretty much stopped fishing because I was going up and down (the shoreline)," Loya said as he continued his big-fish hunting at SARL. "In order not to get snagged, everybody picked up their lines."
The only time Loya gained line was when the fish started swimming toward him.
After 11/2 hours of battling on 2-pound test, the fish shook its head a few times and threw the jig.
"All I did was wear a hole in its mouth," Loya said.