One of my pet peeves is that of giant "Montana" trout on magazine covers. Now don't get me wrong, we do have some huge fish but the size of the ones on magazine covers are often rare or once in a lifetime. The new American Angler cover shows one of these giant monsters.
Here's the skinny. If you see one of these pictures by Denver Bryan, chances are that they are from a small pond near Big Sky that is fed by a small spring creek. This same spring creek was the topic of a Fly Fishing America show several years ago. The creek was closed for the season and the guide was rightfully harrassed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Anyway, the owners feed these fish and that's why they grow so large. Sometimes the credit will be to the Gallatin River because the dam to the pond is just on the other side of the river, so they will get the fish from the pond and take it over to the Gallatin for a photo. There are a few of these escapees in the Gallatin, but they are hardly wild fighting fish! Anyway, take note of those photos and who and where they are credited.
Myself or someone I know will usually get a fish or two each year that will go 23-24 inches. There is always a few fish taken each year between 25-30 inches but these are rare in the wild fisheries. They are there and to be tresured when found, not put on the covers of magazines giving the impression that these are the norms!