Setting a world record in anything is an achievement that deserves acknowledgment and recognition.
In the world of fishing, world records can be hard to set, break, and hold. This is mainly due to the sheer amount of luck, timing, experience, equipment, and commitment needed to reach the required level of success.
In this article, we look at the world record golden trout. A record that means even more due to the rarity of the species.
The current record for golden trout
The current International Game Fish Association (IGFA) official world record for golden trout stands at 11.25 pounds.
The record has stood since 1948 when record holder Charles Reed caught the mammoth fish in Cooks Lake, Wyoming.
To put this record into perspective, the average size and weight of a golden trout is around 14 inches in length and somewhere between 1 and 11 pounds in weight.
The world record golden trout was 28 inches long and weighed over 11 pounds.
Other record golden trout captures
Recently a four-year-old girl called Caroline May Evans has been making headlines following her potentially record-breaking “small fry” catch.
Caroline was able to catch (and safely release) a two-pound golden trout at an unnamed lake in Wyoming.
If the details surrounding the two-pound golden trout catch are confirmed, Caroline will hold the IGFA female smallfry record.
Considering she is so young, it would be a truly impressive achievement and would be a fantastic start to a life of fishing adventures for her.
What are golden trout?
Although commonly thought of as a separate species, some experts consider California golden trout to be a subspecies of rainbow trout.
Officially called Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita, they are named for their bright, goldy coloration and usually have copper-colored backs with bright red bands on their sides.
Like rainbow trout, they are colorful and stunning fish to look at.
These fish can grow up to around eight inches and, on average, live for up to nine years. That being said, golden trout found in lakes can grow quite a lot larger than the trout found in streams.
They are a very rare fish and can only be found in a small number of places including some of the most remote lakes in the US.
Where to catch golden trout
The golden trout is the state fish of California.
They are native to Golden Trout Creek, Volcano Creek, and South Fork Kern River.
They can be found at high elevations (somewhere between around 7,000 feet and 10, 000 feet is common).
As previously mentioned, they are a rare fish and are only native to the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.
However, thanks to stocking, these fish can now be found in more than 300 mountain lakes and in around 680 miles of streams outside of California in places such as Utah, Wyoming, and Montana.
They are in need of protection to reduce the risk of this species eventually going extinct. Brook trout outcompete the golden trout for food while rainbow trout have been hybridizing them which has been damaging to the gene pool of golden trout.
In addition to this, brown trout that have been introduced to the golden’s habitat prey on them reducing their low numbers even further.
How to catch golden trout
Catching golden trout is a tricky enough challenge as it is due to their rarity, high elevations, and their limited number of habitats.
If you aren’t in their native areas of California, you may find it difficult to find a water source where these fish reside. This tends to be one of the more difficult aspects of catching them.
If you are lucky enough to be near a stock of them, then to get yourself into a position where catching one of these fish is possible, you will likely have to hike a good distance as their habitats certainly aren’t easily accessible.
To give yourself the best chance of catching a golden, you will need to make sure that the bait you use is a good match for the type of food that would be available to golden trout in their high-altitude homes.
Caddisflies and midges are usually effective, although spoons, spinners, worms, and salmon eggs can be used too, although they may not be as successful.
Small crustaceans and a range of small insects may also bring you some success.
As these are quite rare fish, any golden trout caught should be released back into the wild rather than catching them for food.