The World Record Lake Trout: How to Catch These Giants in Great Bear Lake, Canada

The world record Lake Trout is 72 lb 0 oz. It was caught by Lloyd Bull using …. in Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Canada’s Great Bear Lake, which is featured on the map below, is known for its enormous lake trout. In fact, the majority of the record lake trout caught have been on this lake. If you want to try and set a new world record for lake trout then Great Bear Lake is the place to go.

The Story Behind The World Record Lake Trout

There isn’t much information about the world record lake trout caught by angler Lloyd Bull. In fact, all we know about this record laker is that he caught it trolling a lure from a boat on 19-Aug-1995.

But there is another world record story, and what would have been a new world record lake trout of 83 pounds was caught there smashing the existing world record lake trout by 11 pounds.

The Story Behind The World Record Lake Trout

But this enormous lake trout was caught in a gill net in Canada’s great bear lake and not on rod and reel, so it was not recognized as an official world record by the International Game Fish Association.

An 83-pound lake trout is quite a catch and it was sad that this trophy lake trout wasn’t caught on rod and line. When the sustenance fishing anglers found this in their net, they were in the boat thinking of how to release it. They tried to revive the fish but unfortunately, it was already dead.

This fish, which would have been the new world record has created quite a stir about sustenance fishing on Great Bear Lake, as no one wants the bigger fish in this lake to be caught in a gill net.

Why Do The Lake Trout In Great Bear Lake, Canada Get So Big?

Since Great Bear Lake holds an official world record or 10+ for lake trout, there must be a reason why these trophy lake trout get so big?

Great Bear Lake is a recently deglaciated lake which means it is quite a young lake when compared to lakes in the southern territories of Canada when compared to the northwest territories.

Scientists believe this is why you can find an 80-pound lake trout there as the freshwater marine life hasn’t had much time to evolve so there are only 15 species of fish in the entire lake.

Since there are just 15 species of fish in the lake, the lake trout species have far less competition for food sources and therefore then can eat as much of the smaller fish as they like with minimal effort. This is what allows them to grow to such giant proportions.

Here is a link to the article if you want to read about it some more.

How Many World Record Lake Trout Have Been Caught In Great Bear Lake?

Nineteen of the thirty-five existing world record lake trout listed on the current IGFA listings were caught in Great Bear Lake in Canada, and that is saying something. This lake delivers more world record pound lake trout than anywhere else.

One of the most impressive catches from this lake in my eyes is the world record lake trout caught on the fly which was a 30 lb 8 oz fish that was landed on a 2 lb tippet by Frank Bluch in August of 2010.

Landing a 30-pound lake trout on a fly rod and reel using a 2-pound test line is no joke and the chances of this record being broken by another fly fisherman are slim.

The previous world record lake trout was also caught in Great Bear Lake. It was a 63 lb 9 oz land trout that was caught by Mike Kroening in July of 1986 and there have been some unofficial world records over 74 lb caught there too.

About Lake Trout

About Lake Trout

Lake trout are a part of the Salmonidae family and they go by many different names from Lake Char to salmon trout and landlocked salmon, simply due to their huge size.

You can only find them in North America all the way from the Great Lakes into Canada and Alaska. You can also find lake trout in parts of the Western U.S. where they have been introduced.

If you are fishing for lake trout in their southern reaches you will find them in deep water close to the bottom as they like cold water. By deep we are talking something in the range of 300-500 feet.

But if you fish for lake trout in northern Canada and Alaska you can find them feeding in both shallow and deep water which makes the bigger fish a lot more catchable.

Lake trout are predatory fish and they eat everything they can get their hands on from smaller fish to snails and more. This is in part why there get so big and much bigger than other trout species.

The sad thing about lake trout is that they suffer quickly from pollution so if their home gets polluted their populations will quickly deteriorate. This is why the best fishing for lake trout happens in the middle of nowhere in the northern territories of Canada.

Where Were The Other World Record Lake Trout Caught?

Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories, Canada

Three world record lake trout were caught on fly in Lac La Martre by the same angler and two of them in the same fishing trip. Dr. Gerry Chesin was skillful and lucky enough to claim the 6 lb, 8lb, and 12 lb record for lake trout on the fly with a 24 lb, 29 lb 8 oz, and a 26 lb lake trout.

Fly fishing for lake trout isn’t easy and the fact that angler Dr. Gerry Chesin caught two of these in one week of fishing is quite incredible.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Utah, USA

One of the southern locations where lake trout have been introduced in the U.S. is Flaming Gorge reservoir in Utah. The 2 lb and 4 lb men’s line class world record lake trout were caught there by the same angler Ray Johnson in the same year.

The fish weighed in at 28 lb 5 oz and 31 lb 8 oz respectively so there are some massive fish so if you are a fisherman looking for a big laker then Flaming Gorge is a good spot to go to. You can see our post here on utah state fishing so you can have more places to visit in Utah.

Lake Grandby, Colorado, USA

Lake Grandby, Colorado

Another spot in the western U.S. where you can fish for a potential record lake trout is Lake Grandby in Colorado and it is responsible for one fish of record proportions to date.

On the 17-Nov-2001 Robert Mason hooked and landed an excellent fish weighing some 36 lb 9 oz to break and hold the world record for a lake trout caught on a 6 lb line.

Dubawnt Lake and Nueltin Lake, Canada

A few other huge world records for lake trout worth mentioning came from different lakes in Canada, Dubawnt, and Nueltin.

Stanley Schroeder set the world record for a lake trout caught on a fly with a 16lb tippet at Dubawnt Lake with a 28lb lake trout.

On the 24-Jun-1994 at Nueltin Lake James Boyer landed a 27 lb 8 oz lake trout on the fly with a 20 lb tippet to set the world record.


How To Catch Big Lake Trout?

If catching a big lake trout is on your bucket list then here are some tactics you can use. Firstly, think about the cooler waters as these fish like cold water.

If you are fishing the Great Lakes in summer chances are you will need to fish deep but if you are in northern Canada in the summer then the fish will be in deep and shallow water.

Then it’s about finding the fish and using a depth finder is a pretty effective way of finding them. Using a boat with a depth finder is a great way of finding where schools of lake trout are sitting and at what depth.

lake trout FAQ

If you are fishing conventionally and deep, you should remember just how dark it is at the bottom of the lake 300 feet under the water. Therefore you are going to want to use a lure that makes noise and is bright in color so the fish can find it.

A method often used to attract lake trout when fishing deep is bottom bouncing with a heavy spoon. When the lure bounces off the bottom it makes a lot of noise and will attract lake trout from further afield.

The final key is patience as catching a huge trophy lake trout is not going to happen on day 1 of trying, unless you are super lucky.

It might take you a year of trying every weekend to catch a lake trout over 30 lbs so don’t give up, keep fishing, and keep enjoying being on the water, that is what fishing is all about.

See the IGFA Record here.

Photo of author

Jamie Melvin

Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.

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