Sea Monsters! The 10 Biggest Trophy Fish Ever Caught in Nevada

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 12, 2022
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When you think of Nevada you may think of Vegas and vast deserts, neither prime fishing locations. However there are actually many excellent fishing lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state. From Lake Mead to Lake Tahoe and everything in between anglers have been snagging some record breaking fish. The Nevada Department of Wildlife has an Angler Recognition Program that keeps track of the biggest fish of all time as well as the biggest catches each year. There is still time to catch, and enter, your biggest catch for 2022. If you are looking for some targets, here are the 10 biggest trophy fish ever caught in Nevada.

10) White Catfish: 17 pounds 4 ounces (tie)

White catfish
White catfish are the smallest species of North American catfish

©M Huston/

The three main species of catfish in the US are the blue, flathead and channel catfish. White catfish are also in the US but get less press because of their smaller size. They are the smallest of the North American catfish with most averaging around 2 to 5 pounds, but some can get bigger.

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There is a tie for the biggest white catfish ever caught in Nevada. The first was caught on September 17, 2005 weighing in at 17 pounds 4 ounces. Jose Mendoza caught this record breaker on the Humboldt River in western Nevada about 135 miles NE of Lake Tahoe.

Three years later another white catfish weighing 17 pounds 4 ounces was caught to tie the record. On June 26, 2008, Corey Ryan caught the catfish on the Lahontan Reservoir about 52 miles SW of the Humboldt River.

9) Tiger Muskie: 17 pounds 10 ounces

tiger muskellunge
The largest tiger muskie caught in Nevada weighed 17 pounds 10 ounces

©M Huston/

Muskie are a popular fish for anglers because they are tricky to catch. Muskie are a type of pike and the tiger muskie is a mix of northern pike and muskie. They grow faster than regular muskie but can get to be about the same size.

The biggest tiger muskie ever caught in Nevada was a 17 pound 10 ouncer caught by Jason A. Edgar. He was fishing in the Barth Pit when he reeled in this tiger muskie on May 2, 2002. Muskie are long slender fish so it is not surprising that this one measured 39.75 inches. That is more than 3 feet long!

8) Rainbow/Cutthroat Hybrid Trout: 24 pounds 10 ounces

What Do Trout Eat - Rainbow Trout Bursting from Surface
Rainbow trout are popular with anglers


Nevada keeps records on nine different kinds of trout including brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, mackinaw, rainbow, rainbow/cutthroat hybrid and tiger trout. Four of those appear on our list of the biggest trophy fish with a rainbow/cutthroat hybrid making the list at almost 25 pounds. A 24 pound 10 ounce hybrid trout was caught by Lloyd Lowery back on April 3, 1976. Lowery’s catch is from the popular Pyramid Lake which is about 50 miles north of Lake Tahoe. There are multiple record breaking fish pulled from Pyramid Lake, clearly a hot spot for fishing in Nevada.

7) Cutthroat Trout: 24 pounds 12 ounces

Cutthroat trout
The largest cutthroat trout in Nevada was 24 pounds 12 ounces and almost 3 feet long


Another trout on the list is a cutthroat that was just a tad bigger than the hybrid. It weighed just 2 ounces more than the hybrid which is a difference of about the weight of two slices of toast. The 24 pound 12 ounce cutthroat trout was caught by Tim Bayles on February 27, 2005. He also caught his trout on Pyramid Lake. Although his trout was bigger than the rainbow/cutthroat hybrid it wasn’t longer. The hybrid was 36 inches (3 feet) and the cutthroat was only 33 ½ inches. Both are still good sized trout!

6) Wiper (Hybrid): 25 pounds 9 ounces

A hybrid striped bass, also known as a wiper or whiterock bass
The wiper fish is a hybrid of striped and white bass.

©Mahler1780 / public domain – License

A “wiper” is a hybrid of a white bass and a striped bass. The biggest wiper ever caught in Nevada was a 25 pound 9 ouncer caught by Adam Truran on June 6, 2009. Truran was also fishing on the Lahontan Reservoir, same as where the second white catfish was caught. The biggest walleye in the state at 15 pounds 4 ounces and the biggest white bass at 4 pounds are also record breakers from Lahontan.

5) Brown Trout: 27 pounds 5 ounces

Brown Trout
The brown trout record was set in 1984 and still stands today


On the other side of the state, at Cave Lake State Park is a small lake compared to Tahoe and Pyramid, but there are still some big fish in that small lake. A 27 pound 5 ounce brown trout was caught by Dennis Magnum on December 9, 1984. The 32-acre Cave Lake is known for its trout fishing including German brown trout and rainbow trout. There are two campgrounds in the State Park and although you may think Nevada is hot and humid all-year round parts of it do have chilly winters. Cave Lake freezes over in the winter, but don’t let that stop you, just bring your auger for some epic ice fishing!

4) Carp: 35 pounds 3 ounces

Carp are one of the most common fish caught by anglers

©malgosia janicka/

A more recent record was set on March 8, 2020 when a 35 pound 3 ounce carp was caught by Brenden Burnham. The question with this catch is how did a 35 pound carp end up in a small urban lake in Reno? Burnham caught this carp in Virginia Lake which is just 1 ½ miles from the nearest Costco! Common Carp can live up to 20 years so perhaps this was just an older carp that grew up and kept growing to reach this record breaking size.

3) Channel Catfish: 35 pounds 7 ounces

Channel catfish
The channel catfish is the largest catfish caught in Nevada

©Aleron Val/

When it comes to catfish channel catfish are bigger than white catfish but smaller than flatheads and blue cats. There are not any state records for flathead or blue cats in Nevada, but the biggest channel cat was 35 pounds 7 ounces caught by Scott Barrett. On June 27, 2011 Barrett snagged this channel cat while fishing on the South Fork Reservoir.

Last year there were four entries in the channel catfish category of the trophy fish certificate. The four channel cats all weighed more than 10 pounds with the respective weights caught by Dante Ray (10 pounds 3 ounces), Bruce Castro (17 pounds 8 ounces), Mike McNeily (29 pounds 10 ounces) and Gavin Broad (30 pounds 11 ounces).

2) Mackinaw Trout: 37 pounds 6 ounces

Lake Trout
Lake trout are also known as Mackinaw trout and typically live in cold deep lakes


Mackinaw Trout (or lake trout) like to hang out in cooler deeper waters which is why it makes sense that the biggest Mackinaw caught in Nevada was pulled from the cool blue waters of Lake Tahoe. Robert Aronson caught a 37 pound 6 ounce lake trout on June 21, 1974.

Two other record breaking fish that also enjoy the cool Lake Tahoe are a ,mountain whitefish with the record being 4 pounds 9 ounces and a Kokanee salmon with the record of 4 pounds 13 ounces. The biggest Mackinaw trout caught in 2021 was also from Lake Tahoe with a 14 pounder being reeled in by Kim Tisdale on December 5, 2021.

1) Striped Bass: 63 pounds

Striped bass
The largest fish in Nevada is the huge striped bass which weighed an incredible 69 pounds 9 ounces!

©Steve Brigman/

Now for the biggest trophy fish ever caught in Nevada. It wasn’t a massive catfish or lake sturgeon but a striped bass. Striped bass are the largest of the bass family and can get to be 50 pounds or more. The world record striped bass weighed 69 pounds 9 ounces, caught by James R. Bramlett in Alabama, but the Nevada record is actually pretty close to that.

The biggest striped bass in Nevada was a 63 pound striper caught by Allan S. Cole on Lake Mohave. Lake Mohave is down at the southern tip of Nevada about 100 miles south of Las Vegas. Cole’s striped bass was caught on March 15, 2001. Last year the biggest striped bass was also caught on Lake Mohave but, although it is a good sized bass, didn’t come close to the record. The biggest striper last year was 32 pounder caught by Chris Meyers on February 17, 2021. Remember you still have time to cast your line and try to beat one or more of these legendary records.

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Channel catfish
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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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