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.
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.
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’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’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.
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.
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.
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’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 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 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 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 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 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 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’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.
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’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’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 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 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’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’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’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’s largest fish on record is a 131-pound blue catfish! The angler got the fish earlier this year!
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’s biggest catch is a 38-pound tiger muskellunge. The fish was caught at Deadman’s Basin Reservoir by angler Leo Cantin in 2011.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A 76-pound flathead catfish is Ohio’s largest catch. Richard Affolter caught flathead catfish in 1979 at the Clendening Lake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The largest fish caught in South Carolina is a 1,780-pound tiger shark!
South Dakota’s largest fish ever caught was a paddlefish. Don Gregg caught the 120-pound, 12-ounce paddlefish in 1979.
Tennessee’s largest fish ever caught is a 149-pound paddlefish. It was caught earlier this year in April.
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’s record-setting fish is a 48-pound, 11-ounce striped bass caught at Lake Powell in 1991.
Vermont got a recent entry into their records. In 2022, a fisherman caught a 63-pound carp!
Virginia’s largest catch in their state’s history is a 143-pound blue catfish!
A 288-pound Pacific halibut is Washington’s largest caught fish.
West Virginia’s largest caught fish was a grass carp. It weighed 71 pounds, 11 ounces.
Wisconsin’s largest fish was a 170.5 lbs sturgeon.
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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