The 8 Largest Fish Ever Caught in Washington

Written by Sarah Barkley
Published: November 29, 2023
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Washington state is a paradise for those who love fishing. Not only does it have many fish species and various places to find them, but you might get lucky and break a record for the largest fish ever caught in Washington. 

Washington has over 8,000 lakes and 40,000 miles of rivers, providing beautiful scenery and stunning wildlife for fishers to enjoy while waiting for a catch. You can find freshwater and saltwater areas, so you’ll never grow tired of catching a variety of fish species. Here are some of the largest fish ever caught in Washington: 

8 Largest Fish Ever Caught in Washington 

1. Pacific Halibut – 288 lbs

largest fish ever caught in Washington

Fishing is popular in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the area provides a beautiful view of the Olympic Peninsula.

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©File:Strait of Juan de Fuca Olympic Peninsula.jpg – License

The average weight of a Pacific halibut is between 25 and 30 pounds, but they can get much bigger. On September 9, 1989, Vic Stevens caught a 288-pound Pacific Halibut at Swiftsure Bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This incredible catch broke state records, and no one has beaten it yet.   

2. Pacific Sanddab – 1.22 lbs 

Large Tooth Flounder

The largest Pacific sanddab ever caught in Washington was 288 pounds.

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Most Pacific sanddabs weigh less than .33 pounds but can grow to 2 pounds. So far in Washington, Bob Everitt caught the largest in Washington on July 1, 2017, weighing 1.22 pounds. This catch happened at Jefferson Head in Puget Sound, near King County. 

3. Opah – 113.40 lbs 

largest fish ever caught in Washington

The largest Opah ever caught in Washington was in the Pacific Ocean, weighing 113.40 pounds.

©Vanishingfin/Shutterstock.com

Opahs typically only average 100 pounds, but on September 7, 2018, Kyle Tapio caught one that was 113.40 pounds. He caught it while fishing in the Pacific Ocean in Pacific County, WA.  

4. Chinook Salmon – 70.50 lbs 

Close-Up of a Chinook Salmon During Spawning

Chet Gausta caught the largest Chinook Salmon in Washington on September 6, 1964.

©Kevin Cass/Shutterstock.com

The chinook salmon is a saltwater fish that typically weighs around 30 pounds but can reach 129 pounds. On September 6, 1964, Chet Gausta snagged the largest Chinook Salmon ever caught in Washington. It weighed 70.50 pounds and was caught in Sekiu, WA.  

5. Cabezon – 25.20 lbs 

Landscape of Puget Sound Washington State

Tony L. Rossberg caught the largest cabezon fish in Washington in Puget Sound.

©Jeffrey Solis/Shutterstock.com

Usually, cabezon fish only grow to 15 pounds, but the largest caught in Washington weighed 25.20 pounds. Tony L. Rossberg caught the record-breaking fish on May 22, 1992, in Puget Sound at Hale Passage, near Fox Island.  

6. Burbot – 17.37 lbs 

Burbot

You can fish for Burbot in Bend Lake and see if you can break the record of 26.5 pounds.

©iStock.com/Krugloff

Burbots can weigh anywhere from 2.2 to 26.5 pounds. Mike Campbell holds the record for the largest ever caught in Washington, 17.37 pounds. He made the catch on April 24, 2004, in Bend Lake, Pend Oreille County.   

7. Tiger Muskellunge – 37.88 lbs 

tiger muskellunge

The largest

tiger

muskellunge, or tiger muskie, in Washington came from Curlew Lake and weighed 37.88 pounds.

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

Often called tiger muskies, these fish typically weigh between 15 and 36 pounds. David Hickman caught a 37.88-pound tiger muskie on July 26, 2014, in Curlew Lake, Ferry County. As a hybrid species of Northern Pike and Muskellunge, the tiger muskie grows stronger and faster than the fish it came from. 

8. Yelloweye Rockfish – 27.75 lbs 

Yelloweye rockfish swimming  Newport, Oregon

Jan Tavis caught the largest yelloweye

rockfish

in Washington on April 15, 1989, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

©steve estvanik/Shutterstock.com

Yelloweye rockfish can weigh between 5 and 39 pounds, although the average is around 22 pounds. The largest ever caught in Washington was 27.75 pounds. Jan Tavis snagged it on April 15, 1989, at Dallas Bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.   

Summary of Largest Trophy Fish Ever Caught in Washington 

NumberFishSizeLocationDateRecord Breaker
Pacific Halibut 288 pounds Swiftsure Bank September 9, 1989 Vic Stevens 
Pacific Sanddab 1.22 pounds Jefferson Head July 1, 2017 Bob Everitt 
Opah 113.40 pounds Pacific Ocean, Pacific County September 7, 2018 Kyle Tapio 
Chinook Salmon 70.50 pounds Sekiu September 6, 1964 Chet Gausta 
Cabezon 25.20 pounds Hale Passage, Fox Island May 22, 1992 Tony L. Rossberg 
Burbot 17.37 pounds Bend Lake,  April 24, 2004 Mike Campbell 
7  Tiger Muskellunge 37.88 pounds Curlew Lake July 26, 2014 David Hickman 
Yelloweye Rockfish 27.75 pounds Dallas Bank April 15, 1989 Jan Tavis 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/bpperry


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