The Largest Atlantic Salmon Ever Caught in Pennsylvania

Salmon in PA
© vvoevale, sketchify, and JonGorr from Getty Images Signature/ via

Written by Alanna Davis

Published: March 28, 2024

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Let’s be honest, fishing has been a popular activity for centuries. In the past, people engaged in the act of catching fish primarily for practical reasons. Since then, fishing has transformed into one of the most prolific pastimes in the world. Let’s explore the story of the largest Atlantic salmon ever caught in the state of Pennsylvania and discuss other impressive fishing records.

Atlantic Salmon in Pennsylvania: A Brief Overview

An Atlantic salmon leaps upstream to reach its spawning grounds

Both trout and salmon belong to the family



©Kevin Wells Photography/

Pennsylvania is home to a wide variety of fish, however, only a handful are native to this state. The Atlantic salmon, pink salmon, longjaw cisco, cisco, lake whitefish, coho salmon, chinook salmon, and sockeye salmon live throughout the state in various lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Among these, only the longjaw cisco, lake whitefish, and cisco are native to Pennsylvania.

The Atlantic salmon is highly sought after by fishermen. However, catching one poses a real challenge, even for experienced anglers. Atlantic salmon are fighters, and many can tear a fishing line in an attempt to free themselves. Because of this, hooking one is quite a big deal, and bringing it to the surface is even more impressive.

How Large Was the Biggest Atlantic Salmon Caught in Pennsylvania?

Typically, Atlantic salmon weigh between 8 to 12 pounds at maturity. However, the largest Atlantic salmon caught in Pennsylvania makes these numbers pale in comparison. According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Brian Keller is the angler responsible for hooking the largest Atlantic salmon in Pennsylvania, which weighed in at 17 pounds and 2 ounces. This massive fish was caught in Raystown Lake in 2001. Although countless fishermen have attempted to overturn it throughout the years, Keller has held this record for over two decades now.

Who Holds the Record for the Largest Atlantic Salmon Ever Caught?

Atlantic salmon displaying spots

Unfortunately, the American record for the largest Atlantic salmon is unclear.


Although Brian Keller’s 17-pound Atlantic salmon is nothing to sneeze at, the largest Atlantic salmon ever caught in the world is mind-bogglingly huge. According to The Domesday Book of Giant Salmon, the largest Atlantic salmon in the world was caught back in 1960. The angler responsible for this catch was fishing in the River Hope, located in Scotland. This colossal fish weighed in at 109 pounds, exceeding the Pennsylvania record by over 90 pounds.

Final Thoughts

Fishing in Pennsylvania has been a popular sport for many decades, and new fishermen take up this hobby each year. While some people enjoy fishing for practical reasons, others simply enjoy the thrill of hooking a large fish. With so many individuals participating in this sport, we may just see this impressive record overturned someday soon.

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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