Chasing the Elusive World Record Brook Trout: Tips and Top Destinations for Fly Fishing Enthusiasts

The brook trout happens to be one of the most difficult trout species to catch but can be found in some of the most beautiful places in the country. So when you blank, which is more often than you think, at least you had some great scenery to look at and take in.

Catching brook trout is a challenge in itself, with the average sizes ranging between 6 to 12 inches. Catching a trophy is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence and should be treasured forever.

The idea of catching trophy brook trout is a mere dream for most fly fishers, but they are out there, and you will find the anglers who catch these record brook trout are the ones who put in the most effort.

The World Record Brook Trout

The World Record Brook Trout

According to IGFA (International Game Fish Association), the world record brook trout is 14 pounds (6.35 kg) 31.5 inches long. This record has stood for the past 100 years, with a few trophies coming close but nothing ever passing that elusive 14-pound mark.

Dr. Cook caught the world record brook trout in the Nipigon River in Ontario, Canada. It was caught in Northern Ontario’s Superior Country Region all the way back in 1915.

According to the history books, it was mid-July when Dr. Cook was on a 7-day fishing expedition with guide Andrew Lexie whose relatives still reside in the Nipigon area.

Apparently, the world record brook trout weighed more towards the 20-pound mark when Dr. Cook first caught it, but because they didn’t have the proper materials to preserve the fish correctly by the time they got it to Toronto for inspection at the Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology its final weight was 14.5 pounds.

Dr. Cook’s record can be seen in the township of Nipigon’s Historical Museum.

There have been a few speculations around this world record as it was such a long time ago, but all speculation has been proven factual, and the record stands.

So What Exactly is a Brook Trout

What Exactly is a Brook Trout

Brook trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) is a member of the Char family. The brook trout is a freshwater species with a distinctive brown-green upper body covered in worm-like blue-green markings. They typically have a lighter color belly whitish silver and a square tail.

Fish of a similar species include Lake Trout and Splake.

You will mostly find the brook trout in spring-fed rivers, streams, and large ponds. Their habits are very similar to those of normal trout, moving away from the structure to feed, and they will possibly sun themselves in the mornings.

Most of the time, the brook trout will remain well hidden, and this is what makes them so special to catch.

Where can I find a World Record Brook Trout?

Where can I find a World Record Brook Trout

Brook trout can be found in Eastern Canada and stretch all the way to the Western United States. Native species can be found from the Eastern side of Canada all the way to Eastern Minnesota.

The largest brook trout are generally found throughout Eastern and Central Canada.

Most of the Western United States has stocked brook trout in their waters. The United States Department of Natural Resources is slowly removing them from the waters to give the indigenous Cutthroat trout a better chance to thrive.

You can see our guide here if you are considering on going minnesota fly fishing.

Nipigon River in Ontario, Canada

In the Nipigon river is where Dr. Cook caught the world record brook trout. It has long been claimed that the Nipigon River is one of the best brook trout fisheries globally.

This river is located in the Thunder Bay District in Northwestern Ontario. Its 30 miles long and has a constant supply of cold water and plenty of food; this allows the fish to grow upwards of 20 inches. This size brook trout is unheard of anywhere else in the world.

When fly fishing for the brook trout, focus on the gravel beds and undercuts with large baitfish streamers. Don’t overlook the deeper pools but use a sinking tip line or DI3 line to get down.

You have to work hard for them, but it’s all worth the effort when you get one.

Au Sable River, Michigan

Au Sable River Michigan

A 100 years ago, the Au Sable River was one of the best brook trout rivers in the United States.

Overfishing almost wiped the trout out, but with recent efforts by the Department of Natural Resources, the population has been growing by the year.

The water temperature is constantly cold, and the brook trout thrive in these temperatures.

When fishing for them, please focus on the gravel beds and sides of the river banks with the nearest seam moving to it. They tend to hold close up to the bank and move out to feed in the seam.

Use stone fly variations in these water and fish them at different depths. There are also michigan trout streams that will give you opportunities to catch awesome trout.

Connecticut River, New Hampshire

The East Coast still has some of the best brook trout populations in the country. There is a trophy stretch on the Connecticut River that holds some phenomenal fish.

High sticking with a few nymphs is going to be your best bet on this stretch. Be prepared to move on this river and search for the perfect pocket water and seams.

The early season is best on this stretch as the water temperature is still good.

We also have a full guide here on some of the best fishing spots in connecticut.

Beaverkill River, New York

The Beaverkill River in New York is one of the most famous fly fishing rivers in America.

There are some decent populations of brook trout in some stretches.

With mainly pocket water and riffles, a 2-3wt rod will be best for this river, and caddis and PTN nymphs should be your best bet flies-wise.

Kinnickinnic River, Wisconsin

The Driftless Region within Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa is well known for brook trout.

The trout are native to these waters, and you will have a great day on these waters. There are plenty of areas to fish, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding the fish.

Late summer is best on these waters with large nymphs and buggers.

But remember that the Kinnickinnic River is just one of the best destinations for anglers when going on trout fishing wisconsin.

Tips for Catching Big Brook Trout on a Fly Rod

Tips for Catching Big Brook Trout on a Fly Rod

Your best bet is to target them during their feeding times, which is generally early morning or evening.

Try swing your Streamers under trees and cutaways as this is where they will be holding.

Flies to use would be a size 8 Bunny Leech, wooly bugger, or size 12 prince nymph.

Good luck on your next brook trout mission.

Happy fishing and tight lines.

Photo of author

Kyle Knight

I’m a South African based fly fisherman who has been fly fishing and tying for the past 20 years. I enjoy targeting numerous fresh water species ranging from trout, carp and bass as well as our estuary species Grunter, Garrick and Kob. I have a funny thing that I can only use flies I have tied myself to catch fish.

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