Lake Trout
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

Vermont Confirms New Nearly 20-Pound Lake Record for Champlain Lake Trout

Yet another trout record falls in 2020.

The trout records have been dropping like flies across the United States in 2020. It's been one of the few pieces of consistent good news we've been able to share here at Wide Open Spaces in an otherwise bonkers year.

Now, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is reporting that famed Lake Champlain has just produced a new lake record for lake trout and it's a doozy.

The department says that Jeffery Sanford caught the massive 19.36-pound laker back in August.

In a situation that every angler dreams about, the massive fish was produced on one of the first trips in his brand new boat.

"I just got my first boat this year, and it was my first time out alone," Sanford said in the press release. "It hit on my first cast of the day. Once I netted it and got it in the boat I was astonished at its size and lack of any lamprey scars or wounds."

Sanford's massive catch struck a jig in 100 feet of water and measured 36.5 inches long. The fish ended up dying, so Sanford weighed it for the Lake Champlain International Basin Derby where it is sitting in first place. He also decided to enter it into the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's records program. It turns out, it has been a long time since someone entered a trout this large.

"Jeff's fish is the largest lake trout from Lake Champlain entered in the record fish program since the department started keeping fish records in 1969," the department's fisheries biologist Shawn Good said in the release. "There have been much larger lake trout caught in other Vermont waters, but this Champlain fish is a big deal."

One of the reasons wildlife officials are so excited is that lack of lamprey wounds. The Department, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York Department of Environmental Conservation have been battling invasive sea lampreys in the lake for decades.

The lampreys have been notorious for preventing lake trout from growing to notable size. The lack of wounds on this fish seems to suggest the tide may be turning in the fight.

"We're seeing lower overall wounding rates on many of these fish, and the fact that anglers are catching older, larger lake trout, salmon and other fish species is proof that continued long-term sea lamprey control is working, and resulting in improved fishing opportunities on Champlain," Good said.

We'll take whatever good news we can get in 2020. This is at least the third lake trout record to fall this year. Earlier this year saw New Hampshire's 62-year-old state record fall and Utah's 32-year-old lake trout state record fell just a few months ago.

This has been a great year for fishing and there is still time to get out there and wet a line. Who knows what record may fall next?

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels