Discover the Largest Fish Caught In Every State

Written by Justin Sexton
Published: November 28, 2023
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Fishing is more than a human sport; it’s a hunting method for people to capture food. It’s a hobby and necessity that’s as old as time. One of man’s necessities in more primitive and simpler times became a way of bonding with relatives and a competitive sport. Keep reading if you’re interested in seeing the largest fish caught in every state. This article may be helpful if you’re an angler trying to break a state record. Disclaimer: the fish in the pictures below aren’t the specific fish caught when the anglers made the record.

Alabama

the alligator gar, a big fish.

The

alligator gar

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is usually a big fish.

©THANAROT NGOENWILAI/Shutterstock.com

The largest fish caught in Alabama belongs to Richard Johnson. This record was set back in 2009. He grabbed an Alligator gar that weighed a massive 151 lbs and 10 oz. Richard caught the fish at the Tensaw River.

Alaska

Halibut caught by a fishing line

Halibut caught by a fishing line.

©Jon C. Beverly/Shutterstock.com

The largest fish ever captured in Alaska was a 459 lbs halibut! Jack Tragiss caught the fish in the Unalaska Bay. For a fish this size, they had to capture the fish and bring it to the side of the boat so a crane could lift it into the boat.

Arizona

Flathead Catfish 26

flathead

catfish

, Pylodictis Olivares, on the bottom of the Mississippi River

©stammphoto/iStock via Getty Images

Arizona’s largest fish captured was a flathead catfish. Eddie Wilcoxson caught the fish back in April 2013. Eddie caught it at the Bartlett Lake just north of Phoenix. It weighed 76 lbs, 8 oz. It broke the state’s previous record. The previous heaviest fish caught in Arizona belonged to a 74 lbs flathead catfish caught in 1988 at the Colorado River.

Arkansas

Huge Alligator Gar Close Up

Huge Alligator Gar Close-Up.

©Morrissey Design Studio/Shutterstock.com

Arkansas’s largest fish belongs to another alligator gar! To this day, it is the biggest trophy fish in Arkansas. They get their name from its appearance with its alligator-like snout. The fish was caught back on July 31, 1964. Alvin Bonds was the man to capture the fish in the Arkansas River. Nowadays, no other angler has been able to catch a fish of that size in Arkansas like the Clarksville native.

California

Shortfin mako shark swimming just under the surface, offshore, about 50 kilometers past Western Cape in South Africa. This picture was taken during a blue water baited shark dive.

Shortfin mako shark swimming just under the surface, offshore, about 50 kilometers past Western Cape in South

Africa

. This picture was taken during a blue water baited shark dive.

©wildestanimal/Shutterstock.com

The largest fish caught in California is a shortfin mako shark. This massive beauty weighed 1,323 lbs. It was actually the world record tackler catch. Matt Porter caught the 11-foot fish in 2013. Matt said it took two hours to catch the large shark.

Colorado

Rainbow trout swimming in natural underwater habitat, shallow depth of field.

A trout swimming in water.

©Henrik A. Jonsson/Shutterstock.com

Chicago’s biggest fish belongs to a huge trout. The trout weighed 73.29 lbs and measured almost four feet. Scott Enloe was the angler who brought in the massive trout on May 5 this year! The catch was estimated to be sixty years old. Reports said it could be an original trout from when the state impounded the Blue Mesa Reservoir. The world record for the largest trout caught was in Canada in 2007 at 72 lbs.

Connecticut

southern bluefin tuna swimming with the fishes

The bluefish tuna is a saltwater fish.

©Shaun Robinson/Shutterstock.com

A 770-pound bluefish tuna is the largest fish caught in Connecticut. In 1990, Lester Debettea captured the fish in the Block Island Sound. The Block Island Sound is a 10-mile-wide sound near Rhode Island.

Delaware

Fastest Water Animals

With a hydrodynamic rapier for a nose and over 1,000 pounds of fin-pumping muscle, the swordfish can reach speeds of over 60 miles per hour —making it one of the fastest fish on Earth.

©iStock.com/bbevren

Delaware’s largest fish caught belongs to a 358-pound swordfish! It is the largest saltwater fish and fish overall in Delaware’s angling history. Kurt Lorenz captured this fish in 2013. The previous record belonged to another swordfish in 1978. The 358 lbs swordfish were in Poor Man’s Canyon near the Virginia-Maryland border. The record catch topped the previous record of a 276 lbs, 12 oz swordfish in 1978.

Florida

Sand Tiger alias Ragged-Tooth Shark

Sand Tiger alias Ragged-Tooth Shark.

©Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock.com

Florida is famous for its beaches and vast waters like the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The Sunshine State’s largest fish belongs to a 1069.06 behemoth of a Tiger shark. Tiger sharks are some of the most aggressive fish in the entire world. They are one of the three main sharks that cause the most attacks on humans. On June 20, 1981, Richard Braggs caught the shark off Pensacola, Florida.

Georgia

Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus).

© USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr - License

Georgia is a beautiful place for fishing, with many waters for anglers to explore. Bass is a popular fish species in the state, but people can also find several catfish species in the waters. The largest fish caught in Georgia is a 110-pound, 6-ounce blue catfish. Tim Trone was fishing in the Chattahoochee River on October 17, 2020. Tim was fishing at the upper end of the Lake Eufaula. He said reeling it in was easy as it didn’t fight the fisherman. But pulling it in was much more difficult, like pulling a log out of water. The prior record for the largest catch in Georiga was a tie for two 83 lbs catfishes.

Hawaii

Fastest Water Animals

Marlins are among the fastest marine swimmers, reaching ~110 km/h (68 mph) in short bursts.

©iStock.com/LUNAMARINA

Hawaii has some beautiful waters across its 137 islands. It’s also in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The state’s largest catch is a 1,805 lbs blue marlin! The Blue Marlin was caught at the O’Hau island on June 10th, 1970. Captain Cornelious Choy and his daughter Gail both caught the sea monster. Because they needed help to capture the blue marlin, it was disqualified for the IGFA world record for the largest fish caught. However, it is still the largest fish in Hawaii’s records. The second largest fish in Hawaii’s record is a 1,207-pound mako shark.

Idaho

Wild white sturgeon caught and released on the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon

A wild white

sturgeon

in the hands of a fisherman.

©christiannafzger/iStock via Getty Images

Idaho isn’t famous for having many bodies of water. They’re more famous for their mountains and forests. However, that doesn’t mean they have some large fish. Idaho’s record for the largest fish belongs to a 675-pound white sturgeon! These beauties can grow 20 feet long and weigh over 1,500 lbs in most areas. The white surgeons are in the Pacific side of the United States, north as Alaska and south as Southern California. An anonymous fisherman caught the 20-foot monster with a set line at the Snake River.

Illinois

Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, freshwater predator in European biotope fish aquarium

Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, freshwater predator in European biotope fish aquarium.

©Aleron Val/Shutterstock.com

Illinois is rich with bodies of water surrounding and running through the state. Because of that, it’s no surprise that it is an angler’s favorite place to fish. Today, the largest fish caught in Illinois is still a 45-pound, 4-ounce channel catfish. An average channel catfish grows to 12 inches and can weigh 2 to 4 pounds. South Carolina holds the current record for the largest catfish at 58 pounds.

Indiana

Blue catfish

Blue catfish

©Thomsonmg2000, cropped and adjusted by Kostka Martin / CC0 - License

Indiana is another state with plenty of water running through the mainland. The state’s largest fish caught is a blue catfish weighing 104 lbs! This record was set back in 1999. Fisherman Bruce Midkiff caught the massive blue catfish on the Ohio River. The Ohio River runs through the Mississippi River and several states, such as Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Missouri.

Iowa

bighead carp

As is typical among bottom feeders, the bighead carp has eyes facing downward.

©Katoosha/Shutterstock.com

Iowa’s largest fish is a massive bighead carp. The bighead carp stands out from the rest of the state’s previous large catches as it weighed 112 lbs! The previous record was at 64.38 lbs bigmouth buffalo fish in 2007. Angler Randy Conver caught the 112 lbs bighead carp on May 28th, 2018, at the Des Moines River between Red Rock and Ottumwa.

Kansas

Buffalo fish

The Smallmouth Buffalo fish can be found in North American rivers, lakes, and streams.

©Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock.com

The largest fish ever caught in Kansas was a smallmouth buffalo. Thayne Miller captured the smallmouth buffalo at the Clinton Reservoir, about five miles west of Lawerence. Thayne’s catch weighed 64.75 lbs. To add to its massive size, it was 45.25 inches long with a 35-inch circumference.

Kentucky

Flathead catfish

Heavy tackle is needed to catch one of these beasts and live fish as bait.

©M. Huston/Shutterstock.com

Kentucky’s largest fish caught belongs to a gigantic blue catfish. Glynn Gorgan broke the record on October 20, 2018. His catch weighed 106.9 pounds. Glynn made his catch on the Ohio River.

Louisiana

Blue Catfish

A Blue Catfish in the hands of a fisherman.

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

Louisiana’s largest fish caught was a massive blue catfish that weighed an impressive 114 lbs. A twelve-year-old caught the fish in the Mississippi River while fishing with his relatives. It’s one of the largest catfish caught in the United States, aside from a 143-pound behemoth you might see later in this list.

Maine

Bluefish tuna swims in the ocean with a fishing net in the background

Bluefish tuna swims in the ocean with a fishing net in the background.

©Alexius Sutandio/Shutterstock.com

Maine has a rich fish ecosystem filled with tuna, salmon, bass, halibut, and cod. Their biggest catch was a 1,155-pound bluefish tuna. The record was set in 1981 by Tim Tower and Percy Stevens Jr. They caught the massive tuna at Perkins Cove.

Maryland

tiger shark

The picture shows a

tiger shark

during a scuba dive.

©iStock.com/Divepic

Maryland is famous for its crabcakes, oysters, and seafood. It contains Chesapeake Bay and many different bodies of water. Maryland’s largest fish caught was a 1,210-pound Tiger Shark! It was reeled in at Ocean City in 1983.

Massachusetts

Fastest Water Animals

One major factor in how mako sharks can move so fast is the unique structure of their skin, especially around the flank and fin regions of their bodies.

©iStock.com/Alessandro De Maddalena

Massachusetts’s largest fish caught was a shortfin mako back in 1999. The fish was an astounding 1,324 pounds! Mako sharks rarely weigh 1,200 pounds, so this beast was rare.

Michigan

A big Short nose sturgeon

A big Short nose sturgeon.

©pixel creator/Shutterstock.com

Michigan’s current record holder is a 193-pound sturgeon. The behemoth of a fish was caught back in 1974. No other fish that held the record weighed more than 70 pounds. So, this fish was almost triple the size of the previous record holder! The sturgeon was at Cheboygen’s Mullet Lake and was 88 inches long.

Minnesota

Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)

Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)

©feathercollector/Shutterstock.com

Minnesota’s largest fish belongs to a 94-pound sturgeon that is 70 inches long. The fish was caught in 1994 at the Kettle River.

Mississippi

Close up of leucistic blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Close-up of leucistic blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

©Brandy McKnight/Shutterstock.com

Mississippi’s largest fish on record is a 131-pound blue catfish! The angler got the fish earlier this year!

Missouri

The average paddlefish is five feet long and weighs around 60 pounds.

The average

paddlefish

is five feet long and weighs around 60 pounds.

©Suivez_mon_regard/Shutterstock.com

Catfish is one of the most common fish species in Missouri. It is also a common fish for some of the largest fishes in the state’s history. However, a catfish isn’t the largest fish caught in Missouri. The largest fish caught in the state was a 140-pound paddlefish. Angler Jim Dain caught the fish on March 18, 2022. This fish was also the largest paddlefish in the state’s history.

Montana

tiger muskellunge

A Tiger Muskellunge

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

Montana’s biggest catch is a 38-pound tiger muskellunge. The fish was caught at Deadman’s Basin Reservoir by angler Leo Cantin in 2011.

Nebraska

An American Paddlefish swimming

American Paddlefish use their large gills and mouths to capture zooplankton.

©Marina Veder/Shutterstock.com

Angler Tom Keller caught a 113-pound, 4-ounce paddle fish back in 2015. He was fishing at the tailwaters of the Gavins Point Dam when he caught what would become Nebraska’s largest fish.

Nevada

Striped bass, caught by fisherman. Freshwater pan fish caught on the line. Fun and relaxation of sport fishing in freshwater lake.

Striped bass, caught by fisherman. Freshwater pan fish caught on the line.

©HildeAnna/Shutterstock.com

Nevada is more famous for its desert climate than its bodies of water, but there are several lakes and rivers throughout the driest state in America. The state’s biggest fish is a striped bass that weighs 63 pounds. Allan S. Cole caught the fish at Lake Mohave. The lake is 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

New Hampshire

Closeup of a lake trout's head and mouth

Closeup of a lake trout’s head and mouth.

©iStock.com/glxedwards

New Hampshire has many natural sights, such as forests, lakes, and rivers. The largest New Hampshire fish caught was a 37-pound lake trout that measured 42.75 inches. This record-setting fish was caught back in 2020. On average, a lake trout grows between 17 to 27 inches. Sometimes, they can grow to 50 inches.

New Jersey

Fastest Water Animals

Marlins are among the fastest marine swimmers, reaching ~110 km/h (68 mph) in short bursts.

©iStock.com/LUNAMARINA

New Jersey is one of the most urban states in America. But it’s alongside the Atlantic Ocean. The residential anglers can enjoy catching some pretty good and large fish. The largest New Jersey fish is a 1,046-pound blue marlin! It’s the largest fish of any species. The fish was found in the Hudson Canyon back in 1986.

New Mexico

Two flathead catfish on bottom of the river floor.

Two lathead catfish, Pylodictis olivaris, on the bottom of the Mississippi River

©iStock.com/stammphoto

Although New Mexico is more famous for its deserts and timberland forest areas, it has some bodies of water for good fishing spots. The largest catfish caught in New Mexico was a 78 lbs flathead catfish. Jim Wilson caught the fish back in 1979. Wilson reeled the fish at the Elephant Butte Reservoir.

New York

tagged great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, swimming in the blue waters of the Neptune Islands, South Australia

Young great white pups, seeking protection from larger predators, consume smaller seals and substantial meaty fish as they grow and develop.

©Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock.com

When people think of New York, they don’t think about their fish. They think about the gigantic city of New York City or Niagra Falls. However, New York City has some large catches of over 1,000 pounds. The largest fish caught in New York was a great white shark! The shark was 3,450 pounds! This record was set back in 1986. The IUCN now prohibits fishing for great white sharks.

North Carolina

Blue Catfish

A blue catfish on the thumb of an angler.

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

The Tarheel state is a popular fishing state, especially by the beachside. The North Carolina record is a 127-pound blue catfish caught on the Roanoke River in 2021. Blue Catfish can weigh between 20 and 40 pounds but can bulk up to 100 pounds.

North Dakota

The Mississippi Paddlefish

The Mississippi Paddlefish.

©Saran Jantraurai/Shutterstock.com

North Dakota is famous for its plain lands and rich Native American history, but they have some unique catches. The largest North Dakota catch was a 131-pound paddlefish. In 2018, Grant Werkmeister snatched the fish at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers on May 7, 2018.

Ohio

Flathead catfish

Heavy tackle is needed to catch one of these beasts and live fish as bait.

©M. Huston/Shutterstock.com

A 76-pound flathead catfish is Ohio’s largest catch. Richard Affolter caught flathead catfish in 1979 at the Clendening Lake.

Oklahoma

the alligator gar, a big fish.

The alligator gar is a big fish.

©THANAROT NGOENWILAI/Shutterstock.com

Oklahoma’s largest catch was a 254 lbs alligator gar! It was caught at Lake Texoma in April 2015. It was an 8-foot-long alligator gar.

Oregon

A fisherman with a Chinook Salmon caught in Canada. They typically measure about 3 feet long and 30 pounds in weight.

A fisherman with a Chinook Salmon caught in Canada. They typically measure about 3 feet long and 30 pounds in weight.

©Crystal Kirk/Shutterstock.com

The Pacific Northwest is home to some fantastic fish species. The area also has great fishing waters thanks to its many rivers, lakes, and the Pacific Ocean. Oregon’s largest fish caught was a chinook salmon. The chinook salmon that made the record books was 83 pounds! Chinook salmon is referred to as the king salmon because it is the largest subspecies of salmon.

Pennsylvania

Flathead catfish

flathead catfish, Pylodictis olivaris, on the bottom of the Mississippi River.

©stammphoto/ via Getty Images

The Keystone State has many natural sights like the Appalachian Mountains, forests, and parks. It is also home to several lakes and rivers. Pennsylvania’s largest caught fish was a flathead catfish that weighed 66 pounds, 6 ounces. The fish was 50 inches in length and had a girth of thirty-five inches.

Rhode Island

Bluefin Tuna

in a netted ranch.

©iStock.com/DeepAqua

The largest catch in Rhode Island is a ginormous bluefish tuna. It weighed at 1,142 pounds. It’s one of the oldest records on this list, set in 1971.

South Carolina

Biggest Shark: Tiger

A lady diver with a Tiger Shark. Tiger sharks may be the only sharks that regularly hunt sea turtles.

©Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock.com

The largest fish caught in South Carolina is a 1,780-pound tiger shark!

South Dakota

A paddlefish.

©Natalia Belay/Shutterstock.com

South Dakota’s largest fish ever caught was a paddlefish. Don Gregg caught the 120-pound, 12-ounce paddlefish in 1979.

Tennessee

Paddlefish on white background

American Paddlefish are classified as a primitive fish species, meaning they have many physical characteristics in common with the earliest fish.

©Oleksandr Lytvynenko/Shutterstock.com

Tennessee’s largest fish ever caught is a 149-pound paddlefish. It was caught earlier this year in April.

Texas

The denture of a alligator gar, fish showing its sharp teeth, tropical fish specie from America

The face of an alligator gar opening its mouth.

©Charlotte Bleijenberg/Shutterstock.com

You know what they say: everything is bigger in Texas. Texas’s largest fish ever captured was a 279-pound alligator gar. The angler caught the fish in 1951.

Utah

Striped bass

Striped Bass

©Steve Brigman/Shutterstock.com

Utah’s record-setting fish is a 48-pound, 11-ounce striped bass caught at Lake Powell in 1991.

Vermont

Pile of just taken from the water big freshwater common bream known as bronze bream or carp bream (Abramis brama) and white bream or silver fish known as blicca bjoerkna with fishing rod with reel

The carp in this picture weighs between 5-6 lbs.

©Greens and Blues/Shutterstock.com

Vermont got a recent entry into their records. In 2022, a fisherman caught a 63-pound carp!

Virginia

Blue catfish

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

©Billy Ogle/Flickr - License

Virginia’s largest catch in their state’s history is a 143-pound blue catfish!

Washington

Halibut on a boat deck

Halibut on a boat deck.

©Nick Kashenko/Shutterstock.com

A 288-pound Pacific halibut is Washington’s largest caught fish.

West Virginia

grass carp

Freshwater fish grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in the beautiful clean pound. Underwater shoot. Wildlife animal carp. Grasskarpfen in the natural habitat with a nice background and water lily.

©Rostislav Stefanek/Shutterstock.com

West Virginia’s largest caught fish was a grass carp. It weighed 71 pounds, 11 ounces.

Wisconsin

Wild white sturgeon caught and released on the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon

Sturgeon

©christiannafzger/iStock via Getty Images

Wisconsin’s largest fish was a 170.5 lbs sturgeon.

Wyoming

Large Male Root river brown trout

©Dave Willding/iStock via Getty Images

Wyoming’s largest caught fish is a lake trout that weighs 50 pounds.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Blueroomuwp/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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