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

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: June 9, 2023
© Maclane Parker/
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Ohio has around 50,000 small lakes and ponds. The state also has various rivers and creeks. The Ohio River runs across the state, while Lake Erie borders it on the north. With so much water, it goes without saying that Ohio has some excellent fishing. Whether fishing on one of the best lakes in the state or at a private pond, there are endless places to fish in Ohio. All of this adds up to an exciting fishing expedition just waiting to happen.

Like many other states, there have been many record catches in Ohio over several decades. However, additional records have recently been established in Ohio. Which begs the question: What are the state’s largest trophy fish? This article lists the 10 biggest trophy fish ever caught in Ohio and other interesting facts.

The 10 Biggest Trophy Fish Ever Caught in Ohio

1. Brown Trout — 14 lbs 10.8 oz

Brown Trout
The largest brown trout caught in Ohio weighed 14 pounds and 10.8 ounces.


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Brown trout can thrive in both fresh and saltwater; however, their skin becomes more silvery in saltwater. Brown trout can grow between one and five pounds and 10 to 20 inches in length.

On July 14, 2012, Ohio’s 17-year-old brown trout record melted in the summer heat, with the new catch weighing .025 pounds more than the previous state record brown trout. A three-brother fishing team from Pennsylvania and Virginia ensured that one of its members, Robert Campbell of Dunbar, PA, claimed the title. Campbell and his brothers were fishing with DB Charters in Lake Erie when he caught the 14.675-pound trout in 68 feet of water north of Geneva State Park.

2. Channel Catfish — 37 lbs 10.4 oz

Incredible catfish facts - Channel catfish
Although channel catfish live in freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water, they are most common in freshwater.

©Ryan Somma, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Channel catfish can live in freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water; however, they are commonly found in freshwater. They can reach a maximum weight of 50 pounds. In Ohio, the state record for this species belongs to Gus J. Gronowski, who caught a giant one weighing 37 pounds and 10.4 ounces. The fish was captured in LaDue Reservoir on August 15, 1992.

3. Chinook (King) Salmon — 29 lbs 8 oz

A black streak along the gum line of the Chinook Salmon gives them the alternate name of blackmouth.
A black streak along the gum line of the Chinook salmon gives them the alternate name of blackmouth.

©Martin Rudlof Photography/

Chinook salmon are anadromous, spawning in freshwater streams and rivers and then moving to the ocean’s saltwater habitat to feed and mature. The biggest of the Pacific salmon species is the Chinook, hence the nickname “king salmon.” It can grow as long as five feet and as heavy as 129 pounds, however, mature fish are typically three feet long and weigh 30 pounds. The Ohio state record is 29 pounds and 8 ounces, held by Walter Shumaker since 1989, catching the fish in Lake Erie.

4. Flathead Catfish — 76 lbs 8 oz

Catfish, Fish, Mississippi River, Underwater, USA
Flathead catfish are distinguished by their dark coloration, big heads with large mouths, and un-forked tails.


Flatheads are native to the Ohio River and its tributaries but were put in numerous Ohio reservoirs in the mid-twentieth century. Flathead catfish can reach weights of more than 50 pounds and are distinguished by their dark coloration, big heads with large mouths, and un-forked tails.

Richard Affolter’s state-record flathead is not only one of the longest-lasting but also the largest fish of any kind caught in an inland lake. His big catfish weighed 76.5 pounds and was slightly more than 58.5 inches long, or nearly five feet. The catch happened 43 years ago: July 28, 1979, in Clendening Lake. It’s a state record that may never be broken.

5. Largemouth Bass — 13 lbs 2.08 oz

smallmouth vs largemouth bass
The largest largemouth bass ever caught in Ohio weighed 13 pounds and 2.08 ounces.


Largemouth bass can be found in various types of water, including freshwater and brackish water (a mix of fresh and saltwater). While largemouth bass usually grow between 13 and 20 inches long and weigh one to five pounds, they can reach lengths of around 30 inches and weigh a little more than 20 pounds. A largemouth bass weighing eight pounds or more is considered a trophy fish in most states. 

On May 26, 1976, Roy Landsberger snagged and caught a 13-pound 2.08-ounce largemouth bass from a little private pond in Northeast Ohio. It is the largest bass ever documented in Ohio history. The record has stood for more than 40 years, and many consider it an untouchable mark.

6. Northern Pike — 22 lbs 6.08 oz

Northern pike grow to be between 20 and 30 inches long and weigh between two and 10 pounds.


Northern pike is another excellent fish for those who enjoy pursuing large catches. Northern pike grow to be between 20 and 30 inches long and weigh between two and 10 pounds. However, some members of this species can grow to be four feet long and weigh more than 20 pounds! But it gets even better because Chris Campbell snagged a 22-pound, 6.08-ounce pike in Lyre Lake in Ohio on October 3, 1988.

7. Rainbow Trout — 21 lbs 4.8 oz

Fish with open gills
Rainbow trout spend most of their lives in freshwater.


Rainbow trout are freshwater fish that spend most of their lives in freshwater, although some rainbow trout move to saltwater after one to three years. The steelhead trout is the anadromous form of the rainbow trout. They can grow to be 45 inches long but are generally considerably smaller. Rainbow trout can weigh up to 50 pounds; however, the average weight is eight pounds.

Jason Brooks set the state record for rainbow trout on June 25, 2010, after catching a 21-pound 4.8-ounce fish in Lake Erie.

8. Saugeye — 14 lbs 4 oz

The saugeye is a cross between a female walleye and a male sauger. Adults typically are 12 to 18 inches long but can exceed 30 inches on rare occasions. They typically weigh one to two pounds, although they can weigh up to 14 pounds. On November 24, 2004, Roger Sizemore caught a massive saugeye weighing 14 pounds 4 ounces in Antrim Lake, setting the bar high for a state record of this species.

9. Striped Bass — 37 lbs 1.6 oz

Striped Bass
Striped bass typically weigh 10 to 30 pounds.


Striped bass are anadromous fish that can survive in fresh and saltwater, comparable to rainbow trout. Striped bass typically weigh 10 to 30 pounds and grow 20 to 35 inches long. However, they can grow much larger throughout their 30-year lifespan. The state record belongs to Mark Chuifo who caught a 37-pound 1.6-ounce striped bass in West Branch Reservoir on July 2, 1993.

10. Yellow Perch — 2 lbs 12 oz

Yellow Perch
Yellow perch typically weigh four to 10 ounces.

©Keith Publicover/

The average mature length of a perch is four to 10 inches, with a weight of four to 10 ounces. With that in mind, catching a 2-pound 12-ounce yellow perch in Lake Erie, which is the current state record, is mind-boggling. Charles Thomas caught the fish on April 17, 1984.

Summary of the 10 Biggest Trophy Fish Ever Caught in Ohio

Here’s a recap of the top 10 largest fish caught in the state of Ohio.

NumberFishSizeLocationDateRecord Holder
1Brown Trout14 lbs 10.8 ozLake ErieJuly 14, 2012Robert Campbell
2Channel Catfish37 lbs 10.4 ozLaDue ReservoirAugust 15, 1992Gus J. Gronowski
3Chinook (King) Salmon29 lbs 8 ozLake Erie1989Walter Shumaker
4Flathead Catfish76 lbs 8 ozClendening LakeJuly 28, 1979Richard Affolter
5Largemouth Bass13 lbs 2.08 ozPrivate pond in Northeast OhioMay 26, 1976Roy Landsberger
6Northern Pike22 lbs 6.08 ozLyre LakeOctober 3, 1988Chris Campbell
7Rainbow Trout21 lbs 4.8 ozLake ErieJune 25, 2010Jason Brooks
8Saugeye14 lbs 4 ozAntrim LakeNovember 24, 2004Roger Sizemore
9Striped Bass37 lbs 1.6 ozWest Branch ReservoirJuly 2, 1993Mark Chuifo
10Yellow Perch2 lbs 12 ozLake ErieApril 17, 1984Charles Thomas

The Featured Image

Lifting huge largemouth bass out of lake.
© Maclane Parker/

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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