83-Pound Lake Trout Would’ve Destroyed The World Record But It Was Caught With A Net

I’m personally very much in favor of pursuing fishing world records, but I recognize that it’s always a shame for the species as a whole when a world-class fish and potential breeder is removed from the gene pool. What happened recently up on Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories is a bummer for everyone involved.

The current IGFA all tackle world record for Lake Trout is 72 pounds. That fish was caught in August of 1995 by angler Lloyd Bull. Coincidentally, that world record Lake Trout was also caught in Great Bear Lake, the same place the fish at the center of this story was caught.

An 83 pound Lake Trout was pulled out of Great Bear Lake, a fish that would’ve broken the existing world record by a whopping 11 pounds. Photographs of this potential world record-setting Lake Trout began to emerge after Brandon Isaac shared news of this catch on Facebook.


So, why isn’t this fish a new world record? Well, it was caught using a gill net by fishermen who were ‘sustenance fishing‘. Upon spotting the massive 83-pound Lake Trout the gill net fisherman tried to revive the fish and release it but it was already dead, according to Brandon’s Facebook post:

Here’s the text of Brandon’s Facebook post, if that post isn’t loading for you:

83 lb lake trout. Blows my mind even typing that, as the official world record (with rod and reel) is 72 lbs. This was netted by the Deline First Nation on Great Bear Lake, NWT (sustenance fishing). The fisherman tried reviving it but it was already dead (gill net).
Their community is 150 miles away on the opposite side of the lake from our lodge. I’ve been privileged to visit them twice. Amazing people and stewards of the land.
This fish is part of the reason why I love guiding in the arctic. Every morning, every guide launches their boat thinking “today could be the day”. The new world record is cruising around there somewhere. And since we’re a catch & release lodge – the 50 pounder caught 10 years ago is potentially still alive, but 20-30 pounds bigger.

According to that Facebook status, there’s still a potential world record lake trout swimming around in Canada’s Great Bear Lake, and that’s just amongst the fish they know about. Great Bear Lake stakes claim to being the ‘largest lake entirely in Canada’. It’s the 4th largest lake in all of North America and the 8th largest lake in the world. So it’s VERY likely that there are other world record lake trout swimming around in Great Bear Lake given how massive it is.

Over on Outdoor Hub, they’ve got a picture of another enormous Lake Trout caught by Brandon Isaac on Great Bear Lake, and that fish has a head the size of a fully grown Cobia. You really need to see that fish.