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

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 6, 2022
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When you think of Wyoming you may think of cattle, cowboys and Yellowstone, but there are plenty of beautiful lakes, rivers and streams for fishing. Yellowstone is an amazing place to go fishing as well as Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The North Platte River is a fine place for fly fishing and there are also some good sized catfish. Let’s find out about some of the biggest catches in Wyoming. Here are the 10 biggest trophy fish ever caught in Wyoming.

10) Flathead Catfish: 22.46 Pounds

Catfish are typically some of the biggest fish caught in freshwater. Channel catfish, flatheads and blue cats are all found in the United States. In Wyoming the biggest flathead was actually smaller than the biggest channel cat but this is unusual as flatheads can get to be 30 inches long and channel cats usually top out at 20 inches. Bigger flatheads may be out there in Wyoming, they just haven’t been caught yet!

The biggest flathead ever caught in Wyoming was a 22.46-pound flathead caught in the North Platte River. Dallas Stanton pulled this record breaker on April 18 2004, which measured 34 inches long (that is nearly three feet!).

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Flathead Catfish
The flathead catfish has a wider, flatter head than other North American catfish and barbels that resemble whiskers around its mouth.

©slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

9) Freshwater Drum: 22.58 Pounds

Another 22-pound record breaker was just a tad heavier than the flathead. This freshwater drum weighing 22.58 pounds was also 34 inches long. James D. Potter, Jr. caught his drum on the Keyhole Reservoir, which is on the western side of the Black Hills. Here you will find Keyhole State Park a popular place for camping, boating, swimming and excellent fishing. Read on to find out what other trophy fish was also caught on the Keyhole Reservoir.

Freshwater drum are large freshwater fish
Freshwater drum average 10 to 14 inches in length.

©Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

8) Rainbow Trout: 23 Pounds

The next two trout records are close in size with one being 23 pounds and the other 25 pounds 13 ounces. A rainbow trout was pulled from Burnt Lake back in 1969 by Frank Favazzo. Frank’s trout was 23 pounds and measured 35 ½ inches long. Burnt Lake is in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 24 miles from Pinedale, WY. According to the National Wildlife Federation, an average rainbow trout weighs around eight pounds, but they can reach up to 50 pounds.

What Do Trout Eat - Rainbow Trout Bursting from Surface
The reddish stripe that runs along both sides of a rainbow trout’s body is most prominent in breeding males.

©FedBul/Shutterstock.com

7) Brown Trout: 25 Pounds,13 Ounces

The second trout on the list is a brown trout. Anglers often say that brown trout are trickier to land than rainbow trout, but are often worth it because they are typically bigger as well. The biggest brown trout ever caught in Wyoming was a 25 pound 13 ounce trout caught in the Anvil Draw in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. George Rose of Albuquerque, NM, was the lucky angler on May 27, 1982, making this a 40-year-old record!

Fishing - Holding a Brown Trout
Brown trout are so named for their brassy appearance. They were introduced to North America from Europe.

©iStock.com/MarceloDufflocqw

6) Northern Pike: 27 Pounds 4 Ounces

Northern pike (or “pike”) are a longer skinnier fish that likes to hide in tall weeds and wait for their prey. Compared to muskie they are relatively easy to catch, but not necessarily to catch a trophy sized one like Robert K. Hockett. On October 27, 2004 Hockett caught a 27 pound 4 ounce pike in the Keyhole Reservoir (same lake as the record breaking freshwater drum above). The pike was just an inch shy of 4 feet at 47 inches long. Hockett is from Newcastle, WY, which is just about an hour away from Keystone Lake making for a nice day trip or weekend getaway.

Northern pike can have between 300 and 700 sharp, needle-like teeth.

©bekirevren/Shutterstock.com

5) Channel Catfish: 28.52 Pounds

As was mentioned above, channel catfish are usually the smallest of the three main catfish, but in this case a good sized channel cat beat out the flathead. A 28.52-pound catfish was caught by Christian Cosby in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Flaming Gorge National Recreation area is in the southwest corner of Wyoming and crosses over into Utah. There are 43 campgrounds in the park as well as 360 miles of shoreline, so you can understand why there is excellent fishing in, and around, the reservoir.

channel catfish
Like many catfish species, channel catfish have smooth skin without scales.

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4) Tiger Muskie: 29.37 Pounds

Muskie and pike are similar in shape and size. Tiger muskies are similar to the common muskie but have dark tiger-like stripes. The biggest tiger muskie ever caught in Wyoming was caught in the Grayrocks Reservoir in Platte County. Frank Rubrecht was fishing on June 2, 1992 when he snagged a 29.37-pound tiger muskie. Although there are not official records kept for the longest fish, his tiger muskie is the longest fish on our list at 49 inches long!

tiger muskellunge
Tiger muskies are hybrids of the true muskellunge and the northern pike. They are usually sterile.

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

3) Carp: 34 Pounds 15 Ounces

Carp aren’t necessarily the longest fish but they are some of the bulkiest. Both common carp and grass carp can be found in Wyoming with grass carp usually being a bit larger than common carp. Both records in Wyoming are pretty similar, just a few pounds apart. The biggest common carp was 34 pounds 15 ounces reeled in by Bobby Brown of Harrison, TN. Brown caught his record breaker on September 28, 2005 while fishing on Pilot Butte Reservoir. This small reservoir in Morton, WY.

common carp
Common carp are another fish that was introduced to North American from Europe. The biggest common carp ever caught was in France and weighed in at 100.5

©Edvard Ellric/Shutterstock.com

2) Grass Carp: 35.6 Pounds

The other carp on our list is a grass carp that are sometimes added to ponds to help control vegetation issues. Grass carp are vegetarians and enjoy eating weeds and algae so they play an important role in the waterway ecosystems. The biggest grass carp caught in Wyoming was a 35.6-pound carp caught in Sloans Lake. Surprisingly, Sloans Lake is in Cheyenne, just north of the downtown area. The Cheyenne Botanical Garden is on the west shore of the lake. William Dale, who lives in Cheyenne, caught this record breaker on May 7, 2012. This is a classic case of “big fish…small pond.”

grass carp
People often add grass carp to bodies of water to control weeds.

©Rostislav Stefanek/Shutterstock.com

1) Lake trout: 50 Pounds (Tie)

Now for the biggest trophy fish ever caught in Wyoming. There is actually a tie for the biggest fish with two lake trout weighing in at 50 pounds. The first one was caught in 1983 by Doris Budge. Budge was fishing on Jackson Lake when she landed the 50 pounder. Twelve years later another 50-pound lake trout was caught to tie the record. On March 11, 1995, Randy Calkins caught a lake trout on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. His lake trout was 48 inches long, almost the longest fish ever caught in the state. Anglers in Wyoming have a clear target for surpassing a 50-pound fish in their state.

Lake trout can grow up to 100 pounds.

©iStock.com/LaSalle-Photo

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man holding giant common carp
man holding giant common carp
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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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Sources
  1. Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Available here: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Fishing-and-Boating/State-Record-Fish
  2. Forest Service US Department of Agriculture, Available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ashley/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5212203
  3. Forest Service US Department of Agriculture, Available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/btnf/recarea/?recid=71749