Lake Erie brown tops record book

Dunbar, Pa. — As far as Ohio fishing records go, this one is impressive. And, it just barely cleared the bar to set the new record.

A new Ohio record brown trout has been certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee.

The new state record brown trout, weighing 14.675 pounds, was caught by Robert D. Campbell of Dunbar, Pa., in Lake Erie six miles north of Geneva State Park. Campbell, 62, landed the trout aboard the charter boat DB

Sportfishing on July 14 using a Contender spoon in summer melon color and 30-pound test Vicious braid line.

“It’s the biggest brown trout I’ve ever caught,” said Campbell, a regular stream fisherman in Pennsylvania’s trout species. “Actually, I’ve only caught three or four other brown trout besides this one and they were just small ones in Pennsylvania waters.”

Campbell's record brown trout is 27¼ inches long and 21½ inches in girth.

Campbell and his brothers, Grant and Jim, were on the charter boat that day as part of an annual walleye trip they’ve taken the past 15 years. They live in Dunbar, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh.

“We had done pretty well walleye fishing that morning and we were cleaning up the rods,” Campbell said of the day. “The last rod took off the planer board and the brown trout was on. The captain handed the rod to me and said it was a steelhead because it was running so hard.”

The brown trout peeled off 150 to 200 yards of line in a hurry, Campbell said.

“I was looking for him to jump because steelhead usually jump,” he said. “… I started reeling him in and got him to the back of the boat and everybody could see it wasn’t a steelhead. Then, he took off again.”

The trout continued his fight, peeling off more line and diving toward the bottom.

“I thought I was going to lose him (the second time),” Campbell said. “He went deep and bent the rod completely over. It was a pretty good fight.”

The fight lasted all of about 15 minutes until Campbell was able to hoist the fish onboard.

“When we got it onboard, the captain said ‘that looks like a brown trout,’” remembers Campbell. “He proceeded to call people he knew – other charter captains and such – and verified that it actually was a brown trout.”

After reaching the marina, Campbell and his brothers took the fish to a local market to be weighed. Knowing it was close to record size and being that this was on a Saturday, Campbell stayed the weekend in Ohio in order to get the fish’s identity confirmed by a DNR Division of Wildlife biologist on Monday, July 16.

Campbell’s catch replaces the previous state record brown trout that was caught in Lake Erie by Timothy L. Byrne on July 15, 1995, weighing 14.65 pounds and measuring 29¼ inches long. Ohio’s record fish are determined on the basis of weight only.

Ohio state record fish are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee with assistance from fisheries biologists with the

Ohio Division of Wildlife. Fisheries biologist Phil Hillman of the Division of Wildlife's Fairport Fisheries Unit confirmed the identification of Campbell's catch.

For more information on Ohio's state record fish program contact Fred Snyder, chairman, OWO State Record Fish Committee, 754 County Road 126, Fremont, OH 43420, phone (419) 332-0777, email ,

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