Discover The Largest Blueback Trout Ever Caught in Maine

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: January 14, 2023
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Maine is an extremely “wild” state with a lot of unique plants, animals, and fish. In fact, one rare fish that used to be found in the lower 48 states is now only found in one place in the US; Maine! Today, we are going to be learning about that fish and finding out just how large the state record is. Let’s discover the largest blueback trout ever caught in Maine!

The Largest Blueback Trout Ever Caught in Maine

Sunapee trout blueback trout

The largest blueback trout in Maine was caught in 2008.

©William Converse Kendall (1861–1939) / Public Domain – License

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In the state of Maine, the blueback trout holds a special place in the hearts of fishermen, despite being smaller in size than most other trophy fish. The record blueback trout was caught in 2008 and weighed 5.24 lbs, and measured 25 inches long. These fish are quite small, especially in comparison to other fish (and even other trout) in the region, rarely growing any larger than a hand’s length. Still, their rarity makes them a highly sought-after fish, especially since they can only be found in a few small bodies of water in the United States (and globally).

The blueback trout, also known as the Sunapee trout, Sunapee Golden trout, or Quebec red trout, is a popular species of fish found in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Known for their distinctive blue-green coloration on their back and upper sides, blueback trout are highly sought after by anglers due to their extreme rarity. In fact, many anglers and hobbyists haven’t even heard of the fish.

Blueback Trout: A Near-Legendary Fish

For many anglers and fish hobbyists, the blueback trout is quite unknown. The primary reason these little fish are so unknown is because of their extreme rarity. Currently, only a few small lakes and ponds in Maine contain these fish, with no other body of water in the United States having any true blueback trout. Essentially, if you want to catch a blueback trout in American waters, you need to travel to Maine!

The blueback trout (also known as the Sunapee trout or Quebec red trout) is a species of fish with a long and interesting history. These fish are native to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada and are a little glimpse back into the region’s history since they are from the last Ice Age. The species descends from Arctic char, which lived in the region before the glaciers retreated. As the ice left, however, the isolated populations of Arctic char eventually evolved into what we recognize as the blueback trout today, although they technically aren’t trout evolutionarily. Like their ancestral Arctic char, bluebacks are known to dwell in the deepest, coldest waters of Maine and don’t often come near the surface. As a result, catching them with a flyrod is especially difficult. On top of that, they are extremely rare!

In fact, blueback trout are found in only a dozen of Maine’s 6,000 lakes and ponds, of which many totally inaccessible by car and require quite the hike to make it in. Despite the challenges of catching a blueback trout, more and more people seem eager to make an attempt at this unique trophy fish.

Conservation efforts are in place in order to help protect and conserve this fish and the unique heritage and history that it represents for the region.

Where Else do Blueback Trout Live?

Although Maine is the only place in the United States where bluebacks can be found, they do live in a few other locations. As Maine is so close to the border of Canada, it makes sense that southern Quebec is the other primary location where bluebacks can be found. Additionally, New Hampshire and Vermont are reported to have slightly varied bluebacks that go by different names, although they were historically considered different fish. The golden trout of Sunapee lake in New Hampshire and Vermont is one, and the Quebec red trout is the other, although the Sunapee variant is reportedly extirpated or interbred with lake trout in New Hampshire and Vermont and has essentially disappeared.

Famous Game Fish in Maine

smallmouth bass vs largemouth bass

You can find smallmouth bass in Maine.

©iStock.com/RLSPHOTO

Although the blueback trout may be one of the rarest fish in Maine, there are plenty of other trophy fish that are worth catching. Some of these game fish include:

  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Landlocked salmon
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Arctic char

Most of these fish grow much larger than the blueback and are much stronger. Additionally, many of these fish are known to be good to eat.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © William Converse Kendall (1861–1939) / Public Domain – License / Original


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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