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Tom Lincoln rarely gets the chance to go fishing, but when he does he reels them in big.

Lincoln, 63, of Scott Depot, caught a giant goldfish Thursday morning at Ridenour Lake in Nitro. The carp measured 25 inches long and 24 inches around. He said he and his daughter, Kimberly Kohl, used a state Division of Natural Resources chart to estimate its weight. It came out to be about 16.5 pounds.

He runs a driving range in Dunbar and Thursday morning’s rain was keeping golfers at bay. He doesn’t get to fish often, so he took the opportunity to go up to the lake to pass the time with his rod and reel.

“I saw the fish, a bunch of them swimming around there, so I threw out a piece of bread and caught a few with that,” Lincoln said. “I caught several of them with that.”

Among those was the big goldfish. He said the fish was female and appeared to be full of eggs.

He enjoys catfishing and has caught a 32-pound catfish in the past. He said it’s not unusual to catch fish of that size in the lake. He called her bright orange color “striking.”

“There’s bigger fish in there, I know,” Lincoln said. “There’s 50-pound catfish in that lake.”

Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt said the lake is typically stocked with trout and catfish, though there are also bass to be caught there. When he heard about the orange fish Thursday he thought it was a fish that may have been thrown in and not one stocked by the city or DNR.

He said he called his daughter and grandson over to look at the fish. He said his grandson briefly had a fish on his line but wasn’t able to reel it in.

After taking several photos of the fish — one holding it up, another comparing it to the size of his 11-month-old granddaughter and another comparing it to another fish he’d caught that day — Lincoln did what he always does when he fishes.

He released the fish back into her murky home.

“I threw it back,” he said. “I catch and release everything I fish for. I just do it for the fun of it.”

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.

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