World Record Lake Trout: The Unrivaled Catch of a Lifetime

world record lake trout

I’ve always been fascinated by world record catches, especially for species like lake trout. Lake trout hold an allure for many anglers, given their impressive size and elusive nature. These large fish can be found in cold, deep waters and are known for their predatory instincts, making them a prized catch for any ambitious fisherman.

Throughout the years, there have been some truly massive lake trout caught by anglers worldwide. The current rod-and-reel world record lake trout is a whopping 72 pounds, caught by Lloyd Bull in 1995 on Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. This astonishing catch has remained unbeaten for decades, but there are even larger lake trout out there. In 1961, a 102-pound lake trout was caught on Lake Athabasca in Saskatchewan, Canada, but it was netted rather than caught on a fishing line, so it’s not counted as a sport fishing world record.

Not all lake trout reach world-record sizes, but these fish commonly grow to be 24 to 36 inches long and 15 to 40 pounds in weight. State records have also been broken in recent years, including a 53-pound lake trout caught in Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah, surpassing the previous state record set in 1988. The fascination with lake trout records reflects the passion and determination of anglers eager to land one of these impressive fish, and it’s always exciting to see what records will be shattered next.

World Record Lake Trout

My research on the world record for lake trout helped me discover some impressive facts and figures. I’ll explore the details of the record and the angler who achieved it in this section.

Record Details

According to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the current all-tackle world record for lake trout is an impressive 72 pounds. This enormous fish was caught in 1995 on Great Bear Lake, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The lake is known for its cold waters and large fish population.

While there have been larger trout caught, they were netted and not caught with a rod and reel, which is a requirement for the IGFA record. Examples include a 102 lb lake trout caught in Lake Athabasca, Canada, and the current IGFA world record for rainbow trout – a 48 lb, 0 oz trout caught from Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan.

Fisherman Achievements

The angler who achieved the world record for lake trout is Lloyd Bull. He was a regular visitor to Great Bear Lake, which is no surprise considering it is a popular destination for avid fishermen seeking lake trout. Lloyd’s accomplishment in 1995 has held up to this day, a testament to the skill and perseverance required to land such a massive fish.

It’s worth noting that the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame lists a separate record for lake trout caught through the ice—40 pounds. This record-setting fish was 44 inches long.

As an angler myself, I appreciate the dedication and passion of those who pursue these incredible records. It’s always inspiring to learn about the achievements of others in the fishing community.

Biology of Lake Trout

As an avid angler and enthusiast of lake trout, I feel excited to share some interesting facts about their biology, specifically their habitat, diet, and lifespan.


From my experiences and research, I’ve learned that lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) are primarily found in the cold, deep waters of northern North America. They are most commonly present in the Great Lakes region and other large lakes like Lake Superior. Lake trout prefer temperatures between 40°F and 52°F and can typically be found at depths of 200 feet or more. Their preferred habitat comprises rocky or sandy bottom areas near the shore.


When it comes to their diet, lake trout are known to be voracious feeders. In my fishing pursuits, I’ve observed that their primary prey includes fish like ciscoes, whitefish, smelt, and other smaller species. Additionally, they consume a variety of invertebrates, such as insects and crustaceans. As opportunistic feeders, lake trout will readily take advantage of available food sources to support their growth and energy needs.

Some common feeding behaviors that I have observed include:

  • Active pursuit of prey in both open water and near the bottom
  • Ambushing unsuspecting fish from behind rocks and other structures
  • Taking advantage of seasonal migrations of prey fish to find abundant food sources


One striking aspect of lake trout that fascinates me is their long lifespan. It’s not uncommon for these fish to live for more than 20 years, and some individuals may even exceed 40 years of age, particularly in pristine environments. Their longevity is likely attributed to their slow growth, cold-water habitat, and late sexual maturity. Lake trout generally don’t begin spawning until they are at least 6-8 years old, which is quite late compared to other fish species.

I hope that sharing my knowledge about the biology of lake trout has provided a deeper understanding and appreciation of these magnificent fish.

Fishing Techniques

In this section, I’ll cover some of the popular fishing techniques for targeting world-record lake trout. These methods have proven to be successful for many anglers, and they may help you land the catch of a lifetime.


When fishing for lake trout, it’s important to have the right gear on hand. Here are some of the key items I find essential for targeting these fish:

  • Rod and reel: A medium-heavy to heavy action rod with a baitcasting or spinning reel capable of handling large fish.
  • Line: Braided or monofilament line with a test strength of at least 20-30 pounds.
  • Lures: Live bait, such as worms, or artificial lures, like jerk baits, jigs, and swimbaits.
  • Terminal tackle: Good quality hooks, swivels, and sinkers.

Best Practices

When it comes to fishing for lake trout, there are a few best practices I’ve learned over the years:

1. Locate their preferred habitat: Lake trout tend to inhabit cold, deep, and dark waters. If you’re fishing in a natural lake, pay attention to areas with steep drop-offs, rocky structures, or underwater humps. In man-made lakes, look for places where fish congregate, such as near dams or in deep channels.

2. Adjust your techniques according to the season: Lake trout behave differently throughout the year. For example, in the spring and fall, they can be found in relatively shallow waters, but during the summer months, they’ll likely be deeper down. As a result, it’s crucial to adapt your fishing tactics accordingly by adjusting the depth of your lures or using different presentations.

3. Be patient and persistent: Lake trout can be elusive, and it may take some trial and error to find the most effective techniques for a particular body of water. Keep trying different approaches and don’t be afraid to switch up your tactics as needed. By being adaptive and patient, you’ll improve your chances of success.

Conservation Efforts

As a passionate angler, I believe it’s crucial to discuss conservation efforts in order to preserve and protect the environment and maintain healthy fish populations, especially for species like the world record lake trout.


In my experience, one of the most effective conservation measures is the implementation of fishing regulations. These can include size limits, bag limits, and seasonal closures. By adhering to these regulations, I have done my part in preventing overfishing and contributing to sustainable fishing practices.

I’ve also noticed that licensed anglers are usually provided with local fishing regulations, which not only keep them informed but also help ensure that they are engaged in responsible fishing practices. It’s important to stay updated on these rules and follow them to the letter.

Restocking Programs

Another aspect of conservation that has caught my attention is restocking programs. These initiatives involve breeding fish in hatcheries and releasing them into the wild to repopulate areas where fish numbers have declined. I have seen how these programs contribute to the recovery of lake trout species, like in Lake Erie, where the population faced drastic reductions due to intense commercial fishing in the past.

Working closely with local fishery agencies and conservation organizations, I have witnessed the success of restocking initiatives as they contribute to the re-establishment of self-sustaining populations of lake trout. This not only helps maintain a healthy ecosystem but also supports recreational angling opportunities, which brings joy to anglers like myself.

Being mindful of these conservation efforts and closely following them in our fishing practices can help ensure that we continue to enjoy the thrill of catching majestic lake trout while preserving the natural habitats they call home.

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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