Ed “Pops” Hahn with his favorite photo of him with his big gerrard buck from Lake Pend Oreille. The monster weighed 20 LB. 5 oz.
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When I got off the phone with Gord yesterday morning, I laughed to myself as I thought back to when I first met them. It was back in the Fall of 1997 up at Paulina lake. A friend of mine who was working for the Forest Service in the campground at the lake told me he met some guys from California that had caught a couple of browns at 15 and 19. I laughed and told him they probably meant inches but he said no, that was pounds they said. It turned out that it was Gordon and Ed “Pops” Hahn that caught those big browns! That was the beginning of our friendship.
It actually started for those two back in the early 80’s when, after college and a short stint in minor league baseball, Gord and his dad started chasing after big mule deer and monster bull elk around the west. As you can see in the photos, they have acquired some really big mounts over the years. This is where they developed some of the tactics that they applied to trophy trout fishing as well. From what we can see in the photos, it worked out well for them. With browns and rainbows over 20 LBS. and several big lakers over 30 LBS. they have accomplished something that most anglers could only dream about.
When Ed had a double by-pass back in 1994, it was looking like the strenuous task of hunting was going to be a big stretch and difficult for him. They took a break from hunting and in 1996 they decided they would pursue trophy trout as a substitute for the hunting. It was a good call and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams!
Their first trip was to Klamath Lake and they did great with (6) rainbows over 10 LBS. up to their best bow at 13 LBS. That is a lake my dad and I fished for many years ourselves dating back to 1969 and it holds a special spot in my heart with lots of great memories as well. Later that year, they made their first trip up to Wickiup in Oregon and, though they didn’t catch anything all that big, they were hooked on all the opportunities our lakes provide for trophy trout.
Their next trip was in the Fall to Paulina Lake and this was the start of their love affair with the big browns. As I mentioned earlier, they caught 15 and 19 LB. browns that week in Oct. back in 1997......an amazing feat! Thinking they had developed a good strategy for big browns, they decided to pursue big lakers and later that Winter they planned their first outing to Flaming Gorge in Utah. When Spring arrived in 1998, they made their first trip to the massive reservoir and during the next (4) years, they caught many big lakers including (4) over 30 LBS. up to a monster close to 35 LBS..
In Sept. of 2001, they were back up at Wickiup when Gord caught his second brown over 10 LB. and his Brownbagger patch fish. The big hookjaw weighed 12 LB. 4 oz. and was the obvious highlight of that trip. They weren’t done yet with their first planned trip to Kootenay coming in early Nov. for big gerrards. Though no big ones were caught, they got the lay of the lake and knew they would be back. They decided to hit Pend Oreille on the way home and managed to pop a nice 17.5 rainbow to top their list of big rainbows to date.
Deciding they needed to pay a little more attention to the big browns, they found themselves back up at Paulina in the Spring of 2002. This was their first Spring trip in pursuit of trophy browns and they weren’t disappointed when they they ended up with the another big hookjaw weighing 12 Lb. 8 oz. to add to the list! When you’re hot, you’re hot and they were on an incredible roll!! Later that Fall, another gerrard over 17 LBS. is landed and another good year in the books!
Gordon Hahn with a killer 17.15 pound bull from Kootenay Lake.
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The next year, 2003, turned out to be the pinnacle of all their fishing exploits. When they started the year in the Spring at Paulina with a 15.5 LB. hookjaw and then added a 10 LB. 4 oz. brown later that week, they were off to a great start. On a return trip to Paulina that Fall, Gord hit his best brown to date with a 22 LB. 4 oz. monster hen. When Nov. rolled around they were back up at Pend Oreille and Pop’s hit a killer 20 LB. 5 oz. male gerrard to cap an amazing year! Couldn’t get any better than this!
The next spring they slowed down with no big fish but that Fall, Pend Oreille produced an 18 Lb. 3 oz. gerrard and then after brothers George and Tom showed up, Tom caught the biggest Rainbow from the lake to land in Gord’s boat when he caught a 22 Lb. 2 oz. hookjaw gerrard. As you can see in the photo, this is a beautiful colorful buck!
An interesting side note about the family is that Gordon and his brother George are twins and brothers Don and Tom are also twins seven years older. Don actually played for the New York Mets and was in the 1973 World Series. He was Willie Mays replacement in Center field when Willie left the Mets. Gord told me that Willie actually gave him one of his autographed gloves to Don when he left that Don still has to this day.....how cool is that?
The Spring of 2005 kicked up another 10 Lb. 8 oz. brown from Paulina that would turn out to be their last one over 10 LB. Later that Fall, Pend Oreille rewarded them with a killer 19 LB. 10 oz. gerrard and that was the close of another decent year. In the Fall of 2006 they finally hit it big up at Kootenay with big gerrards of 23 LB. 7 oz. and 20 LB. 3 oz....that was their best trip to Kootenay on big fish!
When the fall of 2007 rolled around, it would be their last trip up to Kootenay and on this trip, Gordon’s father-in-law, Ruddy, joined he and Pop’s for his only trip and one he would never forget. They hit a nice gerrard going 18 Lb. 6 oz. Then they also stuck a big bull trout going 17 LB. 15 oz. for their best bull trout!
After Gord’s mom died in 2007, it took a couple of years before Pops was ready for the next and last trip for trophy fish. That Fall of 2009 they hit the John Day River where it dumps into the Columbia River and nailed a killer 38 in. “B” run steelhead that weighed in at 19 LB. 6 oz.
This past April, a few months before his 93rd birthday, Ed “Pops” Hahn crossed the finish line and graduated to the heavenly waters of Eternity. One of things I will always remember was how whenever he would shake my hand, he would catch my grip on me fingers and and make me wince with pain. He loved that and would laugh at me every time......he always got me!
To finish up, I have to say that Gord and Pops accomplished more in their 13 years of chasing trophy trout than anyone could hope for in a lifetime. I am glad to be considered a friend and have the deepest respect for them both. I will miss Ed. I am hoping when the time is right, I will get Gord out with me some day to take a shot at some big browns or gerrards together.