A Meredith, N.H., man broke a 62-year-old record last week when he reeled in the largest lake trout ever caught and recorded in New England, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a statement.
Thomas Knight was ice fishing on Big Diamond Pond in West Stewartstown, N.H., when he caught the giant lake trout weighing more than 37 pounds on Feb. 25, officials said.
“After a lengthy battle, Knight was able to bring the fish onto the ice and marvel at its size,” officials said in the statement. “An experienced lake trout angler, Knight knew that the prevailing record was 28 pounds and his fish seemed to be much bigger.”
Knight called Andy Schafermeyer, a fisheries biologist with the department, to verify the size of the fish so it could officially be labeled a record-breaking catch.
The two met and checked to see just how big the fish was, measuring its weight, girth, and length, Schafermeyer said.
“I’m not sure who was more excited,” Schafermeyer said. “I knew the fish stood a very good chance of breaking the record.”
Schafermeyer said he weighed another potentially record-breaking trout in January, but that fish was just under a pound too small.
Knight and Schafermeyer put the trout on a state certified scale that could only measure fish under 30 pounds. When it was clear the fish’s weight was too heavy for the scale to read, officials said Knight and Schafermeyer drove around the area to find a bigger certified scale.
They found a proper scale at a package distribution center and discovered the trout was 37.65 pounds — a much larger fish than the last one that broke the record, which was in 1958, officials said.
“Most state records, when bested, are done so by only a few ounces. Knight’s fish shattered the old record by over 9 pounds,” Schafermeyer said. “This fish is now the largest lake trout caught in all of New England.”
On top of weighing nearly 40 pounds, the trout was over 40 inches long and had a 27 inch girth, officials said. Schafermeyer said the fish was between 50 and 60 years old.
Officials said Schafermeyer and Knight “shared a heartfelt handshake and pat on the back” when the fish’s measurements were finalized.
“He was giggling like a little kid, and he knew how to catch a record breaking fish.” Schafermeyer said “This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy."