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World Record Brook Trout

Babe and Chad show off some magnificent trout. • Credit: Babe Winkelman
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World Record Brook Trout

This fish pro talks about the one that got away in Nipigon, Ontario

Somewhere in Lake Nipigon in Ontario, there swims a world-record brook trout. I thought I had him.

I was up at Pasha Lake Cabins to fish and film an episode of our television program Good Fishing. I can’t tell you how excited I was to catch some big brook trout at nearby Nipigon. Chad, the amazing owner of Pasha Lake Cabins, joined me on the adventure. And boy did we catch brook trout!

The fish were in a post-spawn pattern and actively feeding in shallow bays that had warmed up to temperatures higher than the main lake basin (42 - 46° Fahrenheit). While casting simple white jigs to the hungry brookies, we caught some giants up to around 6 pounds.

But 6 pounds wasn’t big enough. As I said, there’s a world record in Nipigon and I wanted to catch him. He needed to tip the scales heavier than 14.5 pounds. So Chad and I headed to a new location adjacent to deeper, colder water to try our luck. That’s when he bit!

I set the hook and immediately thought “I’ve got him! I’ve got the record!” The fight was insane, and when I first caught a glimpse of the massive fish I thought “yes, he’s a brookie and he might just go 15 pounds!”

After several defiant runs that effortlessly pulled drag from my reel, I had the brute boat side and Chad expertly netted him. He was magnificent. He was also a lake trout.

It’s an interesting feeling being both elated and deflated. I was thrilled with that big laker but also gutted that he wasn’t the brookie I swore he was. Oh well, it’s OK. That world record is still in Nipigon, and I’m gonna catch him. . .unless you beat me to it.

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