About the Author:
John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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December 01, 2008

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Merwin: A Lake Trout Surprise

This monster lake trout, estimated at about 38 pounds, looks  like something you'd see from northern Canada. Most surprisingly,  though, it came from a small lake in New Hampshire where it was netted  and released by state biologists doing a late Fall survey a few weeks  ago.
The lake itself is one of a dozen small lakes that I fish  fairly often. And no, I'm not going to tell you which one or where.  More to the point, I had no idea this kind of thing was lurking in the  depths where I sometimes fish. It's almost scary.          

Chances are that no matter where you fish there's one or  more trophies living, elusive and undetected--so far, at least. It  might be a 3-pound perch instead of the 8-inchers you most often  catch, or a pot-bellied 30-pound pike hidden deep in a lake best-known  for 6- or 7-pounders. Such fish are indeed out there, and they give us  something to think about all winter long.


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Jim in Mo

Whoa, I guess if I trout fish up north my 2lb. test won't do the trick like here.

Jim in Mo

That makes me think. With a good real, what lb. test line would you use to go after that fish, knowing it was there to be taken?


Beautuful fish - terrific spawn colors. I seem to remember a few years back an outsize laker being caught through the ice in a relativley small NH lake - you never know. That's what keeps us all coming back.



Very nice fish and a post that is right on. You never know what lurks in the depths of our favorite lake and ponds. Makes me anxious for the next time I go out. The best fish I catch will be the next fish.

John Merwin

Jim in Mo:
I usually troll for Northeastern trout and salmon with a 6- or 8-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. If specifically targeting a fish of that size (which I would not ordinarily do because they are so rare), I might use 12- or 14-pound to troll or still-fish a smelt bait on the bottom. In any case, landing a big lake trout is usually just a long up-and-down tug of war. If the fish doesn't drag the line across submerged rocks or trees, the battle can be won. If the line gets snagged or heavily abraded, then the fish wins.