State Record Brown Trout
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Pennsylvania's 20-Year-Old Brown Trout State Record Finally Falls with Massive Lake Erie Catch

Pennsylvania becomes the latest to record a new trout record.

While many can agree that 2020 has been an awful year for many things, fishing is not among them. State records have been falling left and right, likely due to more people out on the waters during the Covid-19 outbreak. Pennsylvania has just become the latest to add another trout record to the mix.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission confirmed in a press release that Robert Ferraro's 20-pound, 9-ounce brown trout not only broke a 20-year-old record, it smashed it by 11 ounces.

The 33.75-inch monster struck while Ferraro was trolling with some friends in 56 feet of water on Lake Erie on August 8. The group had caught some walleye and steelhead the day prior in the same area, but water conditions changed and something else ended up striking one of the spoons instead.

After a 10-minute fight, the group realized they had something special in the boat. As is often the case with many trout catches, the group were uncertain exactly which species they had, but they knew it was an exceptional one.

"It was a huge thrill to catch such a big fish, but we didn't know exactly what it was at first. We suspected it was a brown trout," Ferraro said in a press release. "We know they're in here, but the biggest ones I've caught before were around 12 pounds, and this fish was over 20 pounds. It had a very dark back and some silver coloring on the body that made us question what it was for a minute. We knew if it was a brown trout, it had a great chance to be a record."

Acting on that hunch ended up being a wise decision as the fish's identity was confirmed back at a marina by Mark Haffley, a fisheries biologist with the PFBC. The brown trout had a massive 21.125-inch girth and measured 33.75 inches long. A conservation officer was also on hand to witness and confirm the weight on a certified scale.

For the biologists at the PFBC, the catch is exciting news considering the organization stocks brown trout into the lake yearly.

"Older fish like this that have been out in the lake for many years can appear different, but upon examination, it had all the markings of a brown trout including a box-shaped tail, spot pattern, and white pigmentation inside its mouth," Haffley said in the press release. "It's exciting to see a fish like this, a large female, which we estimate to be at least 6 or 7 years old."

This year has been "the year of the trout" as multiple state records for cutthroat, lake and rainbow trout have all fallen this year. We look forward to seeing what other records may fall before 2020 is out.

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