The world record brown trout is 44 lb 5 oz. It was caught by Seumas Petrie using conventional tackle in Ohau Canal in Twizel, New Zealand.
The Ohau Canal is featured on the map below and it is world renowned for producing world record brown trout but not as big as the biggest brown trout caught by Seumas.
The Story Behind This World Record Brown Trout
Image Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2021/07/world-record-brown-trout-caught-from-canal-a-known-buffet-for-fish
The story behind this World Record Brown Trout is one of few words as the angler, Seumas Petrie didn’t want any media attention. In fact, Seumas Petrie isn’t even his real name and he gave his alias so as to stay under the radar.
This massive german brown trout was caught while the 70+ year angler was fishing a jig on 6 lb test line on Oct. 27, 2020 in what is known as the top New Zealand freshwater sports fishery for some of the biggest brown trout on the planet.
It took Seumas Petrie around twenty minutes to land his world record brown trout which was verified by the International Game Fish Association soon after. The record catch measured in at 38.58 inches in length and 34 inches which is a record brown trout some anglers will find hard to imagine.
Why Do The Fish In New Zealand Canals Grow So Big?
The hydro canals and power stations provide a unique fishery, dynamic in a way as the canals provide excellent quality water from pristine headwater lakes along with ton of additional food sources.
There are various salmon farms present in the area and the food from the salmon farms ends up becoming easy food for the trout which is what has lead to the largest brown trout ever caught being landed there.
The large trout in the hydro canals benefit greatly from the extra food the canals provide from a salmon farm as well as the slow flow of the hydro canals which means the canal fish don’t have to waste much energy fighting current.
When you have a huge food supply source added to an already natural food source and then combined with minimal current, you are going to find fish of a huge size.
There is even photo evidence of the large fish in this canal eating bunny rabbits and when Sean Colenso, the Razza Bar, and Bistro barman recorded this, it’s not surprising big browns are caught here. Therefore they prey on other food sources that also help them grow to a massive size.
This world record brown trout and the previous world record brown trout caught in the same canal has got fly anglers and conventional anglers around the world coming to fish it.
Where Were The Previous World Record Brown Trout Caught?
Ohau Canal, Twizel, New Zealand
The previous world record brown trout was a 42-pound 1-ounce brown trout caught by angler Otwin Kandolf on the 08-Mar-2013 in the same canal. This 42-pound 1-ounce brown trout was caught just downstream from a salmon farm so it had grown up eating pellets and everything else that came along too.
This big trout was described as “ugly” by the angler as it has a small head and quite unattractive dimensions being fat and short. Big brown trout can hold their stunning shape when in rivers but when there isn’t much current and they get this big, they tend to bulge and become quite ugly. You can go fly fishing new zealand and your next catch might be the next world record!
Lake Michigan, USA
Good news for any of you who live in the United States as you don’t have to fly to New Zealand to catch a world record brown trout.
What was a world record brown caught by Roger Hellen was caught in Lake Michigan. It was a 40-pound brown trout with some change and the biggest trout ever caught in the USA.
Lake Michigan is also responsible for a previous world record and state record brown trout which was a 30 lb 8 oz caught way back on 8-Apr-1994 by Tim Kammer.
The lake also flows out into the Manistee river where you can also find big brown trout as they move out of the lake into the Manistee River to spawn in the fall. Here are also some of the places to go fly fishing michigan.
Little Red River, Arkansas
Another great place to find large trout in the United States is the Little Red River in Arkansas and the 4 lb class world record brown trout was caught there. This was a 40 lb 4-ounce brown trout caught by Howard Collins.
The brown trout was caught by Howard, a 64 year old angler while using a maribou jig. It suprisingly only took him around 5 minutes to land the fish but they did have to borrow a net to land it.
You will also find some big brown trout in the White River in Arkansas. The world record brown on 2 lb line was caught here by Carl Jones and weighed in at 20 lb 12 oz.
Lake Storsjon, Lappland, Sweden
A place you probably haven’t heard of is Lake Storsjon in Lappland, Sweden which is a way away from Michigan and Benzie county. The world record catch caught there was a 37 lb 7 oz brown trout that still holds the all tackle 16lb class record.
It was caught by Kurt Stenlund on the 16-Oct-1991 to get the record and it’s not typical that anglers catch fish of this size in this lake so don’t go flying to Sweden too quickly.
Lake Taneycomo, Branson, Missouri
Lake Taneycomo is another great place to fish for big trout and a record catch of 27 lb 10 oz was caught by Rick Osborn while fly fishing.
Fly fishing for brown trout is another story and to catch this big fish on a fly is a serious accomplishment. It still stands as the record on fly using 6 lb tippet and it’s going to be a hard one to beat.
Lake Taneycomo is home to some serious fish and it is worth going trout fishing there if you’re not too far away from Lake Taneycomo.
Rio Grande, Argentina
The Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina is a river that is responsible for a lot of the world record browns caught on a fly rod.
This river holds the men’s 4 lb, 8 lb, 12 lb, and 16 lb fly fishng world records and the women’s 12 lb world record with all the fish being around the 30 pound mark.
If you’re into fly fishing then you will know about the Rio Grande and you might have even cast a fly rod there. The brown trout in this river are sea-run brown trout meaning they go to sea to feed and come back to the river to pawn just like salmon and steelhead.
Whether these should be counted as record brown trout is contentious in my eyes as fishing for a trout in New Zealand that has never left a river is very different from fishing for a trout that has gone to sea. The sea run trout have a chance to grow bigger and faster and this is why the Rio Grande has delivered so many world records on flies.
About Brown Trout
Brown Trout are a cold water freshwater fish native to Europe and are a bread and butter fish in the fly fishing industry. Nowadays you can find these fish in deep pools of rivers all over the world from the USA and Canada to South America, New Zealand, Asia and Africa.
Brown trout eat whatever they can find in their environment from midges to tiny nymphs, flying insects, and smaller baitfish in the system too.
You also get sea-run brown trout which are anadromous meaning they can live in both freshwater and saltwater like salmon and steelhead.
The sea-run browns start their lives in the river and eventually go to the sea to feed and this usually happens in rivers that aren’t abundant with food frocing fish to search further afield and eventually they get to the ocean.
They then return to the same river to spawn in and have babies which are when people catch them on flies, after which they return to the sea again.
How Do I Target Big Brown Trout?
Big fish like big baits so you’re not going to catch a big brown very often on a size 18 nymph fly or a 1-inch Rapala. Once browns get big they also tend to feed only at night sitting in slow currents in the day and then ramping up their feeding in the dark.
This means you should fish for them before dawn or after dusk and with big flies. Another great time to catch the big ones is during the fall when huge lake browns move into the rivers to spawn.
After the spawning season, the fish will also start eating a lot to put a lot of weight on before winter comes so that they can survivie the cold months when there is less food around.