Ohio's New Record Lake Trout

Rick Kubb

On April 20th, Tom Harbison (Harbison Charters) and a friend were perch fishing about a mile outside the Conneaut Ohio lighthouse. They had been fishing for about an hour and a half (with about 15 perch in the cooler) when suddenly something big took hold of Tomís line and bent the rod straight down. Tom couldnít begin to stop the fish from stripping line. He didnít know it then, but soon would find out that he caught a new Ohio state record Lake Trout, weighing in at 20.49 pounds, shattering the old record by over 4 pounds.

His first thought was that it was a big sheephead but after a couple of minutes Tom told his friend, Wally, that the fish seemed like a huge walleye. Wally quickly gathered up the other lines as Tomís fish was running everywhere around the boat. After about 10 minutes had passed they could finally see that it was a lake trout. They couldnít believe how big it was and fortunately, they happened to have a large enough net on board.

After they landed the fish, Tom said to Wally (kiddingly) "This is probably a state record." Wally had mentioned that two years earlier he had taken a 14 pound lake trout and had learned at that time that the state record was in the 16 pound range.

Both Tom and Wally knew that their fish was greater than 16 pounds and thatís when the excitement set in.

After reaching shore, Tom called the authorities at Fairport and they verified that the current state record for lake trout was 16 pounds. Tomís new record weighed in at a monstrous 20.49 pounds, was 35 inches long and had a 23 inch girth. Biologists performed a scale analysis and estimated the fish to be 24 years old.

Tom caught his state record with an Ugly Stick pole, Shimano reel and 12 pound test line.

Tom Harbison runs Harbison Charters out of the Port of Conneaut where he also owns and operates the Lakefront Motel (www.lakefrontmotel.com).