Discover the Largest Brown Trout Ever Caught in Colorado

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: June 20, 2023
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Key Points:

  • During a fishing expedition at Roaring Judy Ponds in 1988, Alan Schneider accomplished an extraordinary feat by capturing the largest brown trout ever documented in Colorado, weighing over 30 pounds.
  • Brown trout, classified as one of the most prevalent trout species globally, have the potential to attain remarkable sizes and weights.
  • While the current world record fish for brown trout hails from New Zealand, brown trout found in the United States is still noteworthy in terms of size and weight.

Brown trout were initially introduced to Colorado in the 1890s. Now, they are widespread in wide rivers spilling onto prairies to high mountain streams. Even though these fish can be challenging to capture, numerous fishermen succeed throughout the autumn spawning trips. 

Anglers can differentiate these fish from rainbows and cutthroats thanks to their huge dark patterning and reddish specks. The largest brown trout ever caught in Colorado was over 30 pounds! Alan Schneider caught the massive fish at Roaring Judy Ponds in 1988.

Brown Trout Size

Among the most common trout species in the world, brown trout can grow to an impressive size and weight. Big browns are native to Europe, but they have been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Colorado.

Fishing - Holding a Brown Trout

Brown trout are known for their red specks.


But just how large can they grow? These fish can grow to be 45 inches long and weigh up to 45 pounds. They range in size from 10 to 20 inches and one to five pounds on average.

Biggest Brown Trout Ever Caught

If you consider yourself a respectable angler, you’ll know that any fish above 10 pounds is quite impressive. A trout reaching 20 pounds is said to be a monster size, yet it’s far from the largest ever caught.

Seumas Petrie, an angler from New Zealand, caught the largest brown trout on the Ohau Canal in 2020. It weighed over 45 pounds. It’s important to note that the previous record-setting brown trout, a fish that measured 42 pounds and one ounce, was also caught in the same canal, the Ohau.

kawainui canal and marsh windard Oahu, Hawaii

Canals are often packed with brown trout.


Although the present world record fish is from New Zealand, brown trout in the United States aren’t all that much slimmer. Arkansas and Michigan stand out among the U.S. states in this context.

Many enormous specimens have been captured in Arkansas’ Little Red River and White River throughout the years, with a former world record fish of 40 pounds. four ounces being caught on Little Red River back in 1992. One magnet for large brown trout is the Great Lakes and their countless tributaries in the vicinity of Michigan. 

The Big Manistee River in Michigan still retains the nation’s record for brown trout. Tom Healy, a salmon angler, was attempting to catch chinook salmon in 2009 when he caught a massive brown trout unexpectedly. This fish weighed just shy of 42 pounds! 

Brown Trout Habitat

Cool freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, as well as chilly regions of the Atlantic Ocean where the median temperature for the year stays under 70 degrees, are all home to this particular fish.

Upper Truckee River

Many anglers opt for fishing for brown trout in rivers.

©Steve Mollin/

They favor highly oxygenated water, frequently from mountain streams with a steep gradient and rapid flow. They also favor areas with overhanging cover, such as those with dangling tree limbs or riverbanks.

What Do Brown Trout Eat?

Brown trout eat small baitfish. This includes members of their own species, as well as aquatic invertebrates in all life stages. Mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and midges are some of their favorites. Brown fish also enjoy crustaceans such as crawfish. 

Red Swamp Crayfish - Pincers Spread

Crawfish try to fight brown trout using their claws.


They also consume zooplankton, daphnia, and fish eggs found in ponds. As you can probably guess, this type of fish enjoys the taste of worms as well. Compared to numerous additional trout species, they tend to be more aggressive and piscivorous. 

They are typically opportunistic feeders, which means they will devour any available food as long as it gives them more energy than they have to expend to digest it. However, in situations of prosperity, they may become discriminating. 

They provide the perfect prey for fly fishermen because of their eating patterns. When left alone, they frequently proactively feed throughout the day. Fish that are bigger usually become engaged at night. 

Where Do Brown Trout Live?

Due to their adaptability, hardiness, and affinity for sport, brown trout are widely distributed around the world, largely as a result of human angling activities. With the exception of the Arctic and Antarctica, these fish have been discovered on each continent, in 45 of the 50 U.S. states, and in numerous Canadian provinces.

Columbine Lake Colorado

Columbine Lake is a popular spot in Colorado.


Relative to native species, these fish are more forceful and control the best eating grounds and breeding grounds, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. The Arctic grayling in the Lower 48 has experienced the same thing. Where there were no native trout populations, the effect was less pronounced.

Their native range in Europe stretches from Iceland and northern Norway southward throughout the whole continent. A relict community still exists at high heights in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, which are in northwest Africa and somewhat border Europe.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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