The Largest Brown Trout Ever Caught in Virginia Was an Imposing Creature

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 31, 2023
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These fish are stocked throughout the U.S., including Old Dominion. They inhabit streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. They’re a popular game fish that can reach nearly 50 pounds, especially as they get older. Discover the largest brown trout ever caught in Virginia!

Brown Trout Overview

Brown trout is a popular game fish with distinctive, yellowish-colored sides and a brown body. Sometimes the brown color is more of an olive hue and other times it’s a little bit more golden. Some species of brown trout also have some pops of color that show up as red or orange spots on either one of their sides.

These fish are native to western Asia and Europe, but they were introduced to North America. When they’re young, brown trout eat insects, both of the aquatic variety and those they can snatch that come close to the water like on a fallen tree branch. When they’re older, they eat other fish and crayfish.

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Brown trout

Brown trout prefer cold, clean waters.

© Peterkin

Brown trout need to live in fresh, chilly waters so they don’t inhabit all areas in North America. Typically, they’re found in streams and lakes in the mountains. The behavior of this fish is rather reclusive. If there’s an undercut bank, they’re heading that way. They like to stay close to structures that they find underwater because it keeps them safe, and they have access to food there.

Brown Trout Fishing Basics

Fishing - Holding a Brown Trout

When fishing for brown trout, focus on imitating the food sources they naturally go for.


Since brown trout prefer cold, clean waters, you know that there are only certain spots where you’re going to be able to find these specific types of fish. You should also pay attention to any state regulations regarding public trout fishing. This is especially the case when brown trout are located on private property. You must heed any “no trespassing” signs and make sure that you are correctly licensed to fish in any given area.

When fishing for brown trout, just focus on imitating the food sources they naturally go for. You could try nymphs or wet flies (when you’re fishing downstream) and even salmon eggs, too. In Virginia, you have Lake Moomaw plus you can always explore rivers and streams like Little River, Potts Creek, and Jackson River. These fish hit spinners, snatching up larger live bait options. You can also use crankbaits. If you’re fishing upstream, switch to dry flies!

The Largest Brown Trout Ever Caught in Virginia

The largest brown trout ever caught in the state of Virginia was found in Smith River by William W. Nease. It was June 22, 1979, when Nease went out to the river to fish. He ended up catching a brown trout that weighed an impressive 18 pounds and 11 ounces!

The Largest Brown Trout Ever Caught in the World

The world record for the largest brown trout ever caught is held by Seamas Petrie, who was out fishing in the Ohau Canal of New Zealand in October 2020. This fish weighed a whopping 44 pounds! It had a 32-inch girth and measured 38.58 inches long.

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

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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