New World Record Brook Trout Blog

Discussion topic: Is this fish a New World Record. What do you think?

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November 19 / 2006 / 6:00 PM


The record will not be IFGA certified because the fish was not kept for examination.

Also, the brookies in that lake aren't natural, they're stocked. I've read several reports stating that the stockers in that particular lake are triploid fish - sterile fish engineered with an extra set of chromosomes that tend to grow very fast and very large because they devote no energy to reproduction.

I don't believe such fish should/would ever be ratified as records, just as as aquaculture escapees shouldn't be record making/breaking fish either (like some massive, aqua-cultured escapee rainbows that have been showing up in Ontario waters (in Georgian Bay I believe)).

That said, I love brookies, and it must have been one heck of a pleasure to fight and land that fish. Kudos to the angler for releasing it, even though it was almost certainly not a "natural" fish and won't ever contribute to any genepool.

Cheers, Troy

November 20 / 2006 / 10:23 AM

Waterdown, Ontario

This is a response to Troy's Statement

There are tons of record classes. Catch-& Release, open water vs ice fishing, line class, fly-fishing vs regular spin cast etc..etc.. To actually get the true world record, you have to catch the biggest.

For biggest, which is the top of the pile, it has to be verified by the IGFA (Internatinal Game Fish Assoc.) and they kill the fish. I can see if he just took a picture and let it go, there would be no way of verifying it's size but in this case, he took a picture of the fish with a tape measure and he was in a fishing tournament when he caught it and had many witnesses. A fish weight formula shows the fish to be much bigger than the previous world record.

Genetic Mutants

Above there was talk about genetically altered fish. It is true that genetically altered rainbow trout and Coho salmon have been created for aqua farming in order for the fish to grow faster. Some of the altered trout did escape into Lake Huron and have been caught by fisherman. You can tell they are genetically altered because their bone structure is all weird. They have these gigantic bodies and little heads. Here is picture of a massive rainbow trout caught in Lake Huron, which looks like a "posible genetically altered fish".

They made these super rainbow trout but they never did that to Brook Trout (Speckled Trout) because speckled trout is an indigionous species while Rainbow Trout were introduced to North America from Germany back in the late 1800s. The MNR "did not" and "will not" allow a indiginous species to be altered. There is also no commercial demand for Speckled Trout so economically it is not feasible to bother creating super brookies. I don't know why because rainbow trout taste like crap compaired to Speckled Trout.

If you look at this giant brook trout, it's body is in a natural proportion, which suggest it is not a genetically altered fish. BUT, it is possible that it is a splake (cross between a brook trout and a lake trout) and for some reason the fish inherited most of the colour traits from the brook trout but it's size is influenced by the lake trout genes. I have seen lots of splake and I have never seen one that had brilliant colors like this fish. They are usually pale


November 20 / 2006 / 2:42 AM


Gary -

The trout in question was caught in Manitoba, not Ontario, so I don't think our MNR practices have an influence.

I'm not sure about Manitoba's stocking practices, but triploid brookies certainly exist and are actively stocked. For example, all brookies currently stocked in B.C. are All Female triploids (AF3N).

I agree that it could also certainly be a splake. Splake definitely get very large - I've caught several >10lbs, and I know that they can exceed 15lbs. Depending on what kind of a cross and strain it is, sometimes differentiating a splake from a brookie can be very difficult. Some back-crossed splake I've caught had very brookie-like markings. Ocassionaly, only dissection can tell you for sure that they're splake.

Nevertheless, a very nice fish.

November 21 / 2006 / 8:57 AM


The tail is not fanned out but if it was it looks to me as though it would be square. Here is a picture of a fish that is definately a speckled trout. It came from an interior Algonquin lake that has never been stocked. In this snap the tail appears to have a bit of a fork but when the tail was fanned it was as square as a box.

I have never seen blue halo's on the dots of a splake. That Monster looks like a honkin' big speckled trout to me. I bet it gave a great fight.

I hope he took a ton of pictures and gets a lot of free lunches showing them off.


November 22 / 2006 / 11:15 am

Don Meger
Ham Lake, MN

Sorry to rain on everyone's parade, but I highly doubt that TIm's Brook Trout is a new record.

I have extensive experience in catching large brook trout from the Nipigon system and cannot believe in any way possible that that fish would top the established record.

I accept that the length and girth of the fish is correctly reported at 29x21. However, the calculation method of LxGxG/800 is NOT accurate for fall male brook trout. The formula is fairly accurate for spring and summer fish when their body shape is more cylindrical, but as the season progresses, the male brook trout become "tall" and their bodies flatten out. For instance, a sheet of paper may have a 22 inch girth but it has little weight since it is basically flat without thickness. This is how the male brook trout get in the fall. If you look at the pictures of Tim's fish, you can see that the belly is flacid and without weight. The height (therefore girth) of the fish is exagerated at the dorsal fin. This girth does not carry through the length of the fish as you would see in Lake Trout or in an early season brook trout.

Personally, I have caught 23 inch long brook trout that approach 7 pounds and at the same time have caught one fish at 27 inches in length that only weighed 5.8 pounds. I have caught many fall males in the 26 inch range that look similar to Tim's fish in shape and heft. Their girths can measure 16 to 18 inches. The calculations put these fish in the 8 to 10.5 pound range, but when accurately weighed, they fall far short. One particular fish was measured at 26.5x17.5. The formula puts it at 10.2 pounds. The actual weight was 7.9 pounds - 23% under the calculation. The largest trout I have witnessed have been 10.8 pounds (31x17) and 9.2 pounds. Both of these were early summer fish.

Tim's fish is magnificent. The finest trout I've ever seen by far. The pictures are spectacular and kudos to Tim for releasing it. I would put it's weight at 13 pounds. Without actually weighing the fish, you cannot be certain, but I'm pretty sure that it would not have been a record. I believe that if this same fish were caught a couple months earlier, it would have been heavier.


November 22 / 2006 / 4:25 pm

Dick Talleur
Sunset Beach, NC

I've fished Labrador several times. I could very well be wrong-but isn't that brook trout a female? I'm looking at the jaw structure and the overall body shaping. Tim did a heroic deed in releasing that fish. I hope he gets credited with a world record, as I think the fish qualifies.


November 22 / 2006 / 6:40 pm

Terry Koslowski
Thunder Bay

As you know, there is much talk and argument as to the true weight of this fish, and I too have my doubts. But my doubts are also about the species. This fish does not in my opinion appear to be a true, pure strain Brook Trout. The markings and body features are about 90% correct, but it's that 10% that raises the red flags for me. First off, the fish's tail lacks the the extensive striping that all Brook Trout (at least in my experience) have. The tail goes from striped at the wrist to solid crimson in the middle and end. Also the lower jaw lacks the dark brown/black coloration along the edges of the mouth interior. Lastly, the shape of the head is very Lake Trout like. My opinion is that this fish is a Splake. I'm not trying to take anything away from Mr. Matheson here, and I applaud him for releasing such a beautiful trophy, but with all these weight and species variables, I just don't see it as being any kind of record.


November 24 / 2006 / 1:57 pm

Paul Vecsei

Enjoyed seeing the giant brookie on your site. The discussion group had some interesting comments. I am a fisheries biologist and i have no doubt that it is a pure strain brook trout. We would not be able to tell if it could be a several generations ago hybrid that has backcrossed since to almost pure brookie but a genetics analyses could have solved that.


November 27 / 2006 / 8:28 am

Steve Leone Ganado P.Eng.

Lovely brooktrout. Nice to know that this sportsman did not let his integrity get in the way of his pride.


January 4 / 2007 / 10:09 am

Caledon, Ontario

Certainly a monster brook trout. Hatís off to Tim Matheson for releasing the brute.

In my opinion, this brook trout is a hatchery fish based on the deformed dorsal fin (common when reared in high densities). I would hazard the guess that it is also a triploid based on the lack of sexual characteristics for the time of year that it was caught. As an old male, it should have a well developed kype and deeply coloured head. The body proportions look male with the slender abdomen and sloped back (between the head and dorsal fin), but the head looks female having a small button for a kype.

I would recommend investigating the stocking history of the lake to confirm whether triploids had been released in the last 5 to 8 years.

Also, when I compared the length against a length/weight dataset from a wild brook trout lake at Reserve Beauchene ( in Quebec, my best estimate for weight came out at 5.13 kg or 11.286 lbs (at about 87% accuracy a polynomial equation generated from a 140 fish sample size)

Hereís the data and the extrapolation:


February 28 / 2007 / 1:21 pm


In terms of the possible new world record....we need to compare apples to apples .... Dr Cook's was an actual weight, the Manitoba fish was calculated.....For the apple to apple comparison enter the dimensions of Dr Cook's fish into the formula and see what his fish would have been calculated to weigh....then compare that weight to the calculated weight of the Manitoba fish....Yes there are differences in reported lengths (one photo says 34", one says 31.5", and one says depth of 9" while another says 11.5" depth.) Using calipers and the 2 foot ruler in the photo on your website you can convince yourself that the total length is 34" and the fork length is 31.5". For girth I would suggest it is reasonably conservative to double the depth and add an inch at top and bottom to account for the distance across the back and the belly. So if you conservatively assume that the actual dimensions of his fish were 34"x 20",the formula estimates his fish to have weighed 17lb. Bigger than the Manitoba fish.


May 12 / 2007 / 4:21 pm

Mike Deloia

Pure Strain??
I would love to see dna testing on this brookie. I have caught brookies my whole life. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE WITH A LAKE TROUT HEAD! The tail is also on the forked side. In the northeast they call them squaretails. I doubt very much if this a pure strain brook trout The lake trout head is (in my opinion) the dead give away. However i remember reading that Dr Cooks fish may also have been a cross!! I dont want to take away from this trophy but if we see a 15lb trout come from the wilderness area of labrador area that will (in my opinion) be the world record !!


March 9 / 2010

Hi Gary;

I found the blog to be an interesting read. Some points I could agree with, and others I could not. This fish is definitely a female brookie, and not a hybrid or splake. Splake do not have red dots above the lateral line. Some people have compared the length of the fish to Dr. Cook's....doesn't mean a thing! My two sons each caught a 32" pike within a week of each other. One weighed 14.5 lbs. and the other weighed 5 lbs. Cook carried his fish around for a week before having it legally weighed. If he kept it in cool water to preserve it, then maybe it 'plumped' the fish. Who knows? The 102 lb. lake trout caught in Lake Athabasca by gill net in 1961 was a female which couldn't reproduce and therefore all the energy transferred into 'mutant' growth...otherwise a perfectly healthy fish. I believe Tim's fish was definitely closing in on the record, if not besting it.


Rick Farrow
Temagami, Ontario


August 7 / 2010

About the Matheson brook trout.

Writer Mark from Caledon, with the length vs. weight plot, is extrapolating a third degree polynomial far past the end of the data used to construct it, the heaviest fish used to estimate the curve apparently being just over 2 kg.

My confidence in it's predictions past 3 kg are very limited. Further you can see that some of the errors for the heavier fish are already sometimes rather large (the second longest fish's weight looks like a 40% prediction error!). This variation is not shocking, especially given what some of the other experienced folks here have written. Even if it was data from brookies up to 4 kg from Nipigon area (where I've seen big ones), I'd be very cautious.

Nice set of notes from the others, thanks,
Rork Kuick
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

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