Discover the Largest Lake Trout Ever Caught in Colorado

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: April 23, 2023
Share on:


If you’re planning to break Colorado’s record for the largest lake trout, you’re in the right place! We’ll tell you about the current record, where the fish was caught, and share some tips on how to catch Colorado’s next record lake trout!

What Is a Lake Trout?

Lake trout fish in hands salvelinus namaycush

Most lake trout (

Salvelinus namaycush

) are brown or olive-gray with yellowish or white spots and a white belly.

©U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain – License

The scientific name for lake trout is Salvelinus namaycush. These fish are found in North America’s lakes, mostly in the northern part of the continent. However, they can now be found as an introduced species in other parts of North America as well.

These fish have elongated bodies, indented tails, and large mouths. Most specimens are either brown or olive-gray and feature yellowish or white spots. The underparts are typically white.

They prefer living in cold waters that are rich in oxygen. Lake trout are considered pelagic fish
that live and feed at depths of 66-197 feet. If there are enough pelagic prey fish (meaning small
pelagic fish that serve as a food source for larger fish), lake trout are piscivorous. However, not
all lakes have pelagic prey fish, in which case, lake trout become planktivores and feed on
creatures like phytoplankton and zooplankton.

How Large Do Lake Trout Get?

Lake trout can grow pretty large! In fact, they’re the largest char species. On average, they grow up to 24 to 36 inches and weigh 10-15 pounds. However, specimens growing much longer and heavier aren’t uncommon, and the records we’ll discuss today will undoubtedly prove this!

What’s the Largest Lake Trout Ever Caught in Colorado?

Fisherman releasing a lake trout

Lake trout are usually brown or olive-gray and feature yellowish or white spots; their underparts are typically white.

©Iryna Harry/

The largest lake trout ever caught in Colorado weighed 50 pounds 5 ounces and measured 44.25 inches long. The girth measured 34.4 inches. Don Walker caught the specimen at Blue Mesa Reservoir on May 23, 2007.

The angler was fishing with his wife from a boat when he caught this large lake trout. The temperature at the water’s surface was 53 degrees, which is of utmost importance when catching lake trout, since anglers say they’re most active when the water is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Don Walker fought with the fish for roughly 25 minutes until he was able to reel it to the boat! This was no easy task because if he didn’t do it right, the line might have broken, and he would have lost the fish.

Compared to the average lake trout size, we’d say that the one caught by Don Walker is large enough to break records since it’s roughly three times heavier and almost twice as long as the average size.

What’s the Second-Largest Lake Trout Ever Caught in Colorado?

[Image needed. – Caption: The second-largest lake trout ever caught in Colorado weighed 46 pounds 14.6 ounces and measured 42.6 inches long.]

The second-largest lake trout ever caught in Colorado weighed 46 pounds 14.6 ounces and measured 42.6 inches long. It was caught in 2002 by angler Larry Cornell, who was also fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir. In fact, before Don Walker caught the now-largest lake trout, the record belonged to Larry Cornell’s fish. And it turns out that Larry Cornell is Don Walker’s brother-in-law and was fishing nearby when Walker caught his fish!

Where Are Lake Trout Found in Colorado?

Since the first two largest lake trout were caught at Blue Mesa Reservoir, you can definitely give it a chance; who knows, maybe you’ll break Walker’s record! This is a large lake that’s full of brown, rainbow, and lake trout. 

However, if you want to try other locations, you can go to Twin Lakes, also home to trout species. It’s located 25 miles north of Leadville. Anglers say that fishing for lake trout at Twin Lakes is best done during the spring when they’re more active. Ice fishing is also possible, especially if you want to catch rainbow or lake trout.

Lake Granby is also full of lake trout. It’s located near Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake, and it will take you only two hours to get there from Denver.

How to Fish Lake Trout?

If you’re planning to catch a large lake trout and break the record, we’re here to help! Anglers say that live bait is the best when fishing for lake trout. You can use minnows, nightcrawlers, or salmon eggs. However, some anglers have caught large lake trout using crankbaits (artificial lures) like whitefish, tullibee, or cisco.

Besides this, you’ll have to do your homework before going fishing. The key to catching a lake trout is learning how deep it lives and forages in the waters you plan to fish. Then, you’ll have to ensure you have a medium-to-large rod that’s relatively rigid if you want to catch a large fish.

As for the best time of the year, June to August is generally considered the optimal time to fish for lake trout. However, many anglers confirm that these fish are also active during the spring. On the other hand, whatever season you choose for fishing, the time of the day matters the most because lake trout only hunt for food at specific times. You have more of a chance to catch one when there’s little to no light, so you must check the weather forecast before fishing. Moreover, the water temperature matters, too. For example, during the spring, the fish may be active throughout the day since the water is cooler. 

What’s the Largest Lake Trout Ever Recorded?

Closeup of a lake trout's head and mouth

The largest lake trout ever recorded weighed 102 pounds and measured 50 inches long.


Reportedly, the largest lake trout ever recorded weighed 102 pounds and measured 50 inches long! This specimen is believed to have been caught in 1961 in Canada on Lake Athabasca.

However, there’s a secret to this. Little information is known about this catch, which is why the IGFA lists another lake trout as the largest; it measured 59 inches long and weighed 72 pounds. The fish was caught at Canada’s Great Bear Lake in 1995 by angler Lloyd Bull.

The All-Tackle Length World Record is held by a fish caught by Michael J. Sada in 2014, which measured 42 inches long.

Where is Lake Athabasca Located on a Map?

Located in the Canadian region, Lake Athabasca is situated in the northwestern part of Saskatchewan and northeastern Alberta, specifically between 58° and 60° N. The lake spans two provinces, with 26% of it located in Alberta and the remaining 74% in Saskatchewan.

Here is Lake Athabasca on a map:

The photo featured at the top of this post is © VvoeVale/

Share on:
About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.