A massive trout caught on a Maine lake last week has shattered a 62-year-old state record, officials said.
Erik Poland, of Andover, Maine, was fishing on Richardson Lake in Oxford County last Thursday when he hooked a giant trout that weighed more than 39 pounds, said Mark Latti, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“For a while, the fish wasn’t budging, and Erik knew he had a big fish. He didn’t want to haul it in for fear that it would break his line,” Latti said. “He knew he had to take his time bringing it in.”
Poland battled with the fish for more than an hour and a half. When he was finally able to reel in his catch, he knew it was a special fish.
Poland quickly brought the trout to a man who had a certified scale. The trout was 44 inches long, had a girth of 28 inches, and weighed 39.2 pounds, more than 8 pounds heavier than the last record-breaking trout in the state.
That 31.8 pound fish was caught by Hollis Grindle, of Ellsworth, Maine, on Beech Hill Pond in 1958. Latti said one fish that was caught more than 10 years ago came close to beating that record, but it only weighed about 29 pounds.
“[Poland’s trout] has created a lot of excitement. People realize its over 60 years since that record was set and to not only break the record, but shatter it by 8 pounds is really amazing,” Latti said. “That’s a huge freshwater fish.”
The new record-breaking trout will be preserved by a taxidermist, Latti said. Poland will also have a replica made of it, and will donate the fish’s otolith bone, which is a tiny bone in its ear, so biologists can determine the trout’s age.
Lake trout like the one Poland caught are one of the longest living freshwater fish species and the largest native fish species found in Maine, according to a statement from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Biologists from the department have found numerous lake trout that are over 25 years old in the state, with some even older than 30, officials said.
Poland is one of the many Mainers who have flocked to the state’s lakes, forests, and trails since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Latti said boat ramps are busier than usual both during the week and the weekend, and officials have seen an uptick in people hiking, camping, and using ATVs.
“Without a doubt during this pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more people outside and a lot more people fishing...” Latti said. “People are taking the time to enjoy the outdoors during this pandemic.”