West Virginia State Record Trout – The Biggest Trout Caught In West Virginia

Trout Fishing in WV

Finding yourself daydreaming about how to catch more fish?  Wondering how to spend more time outdoors with a rod and reel this spring?

Anglers of all ages wonder what it takes to catch bigger fish – but who have caught the biggest trout in West Virginia?  The following individuals hold the respectable claim to “West Virginia State Record Trout.”

In this article you will learn the who and where behind the West Virginia state record trout and maybe one day you too will earn your place in the record books.

WV State Record Brook Trout

Brook Trout are the smallest species of trout inhabiting West Virginia but that does not make them any less worthy of an angler’s attention.  The Brook Trout is the state fish of West Virginia and the state’s only native species of trout.  Two men hold claim to the biggest Brook Trout caught in West Virginia.

The biggest brook trout caught in West Virginia by length measured 23.5 inches and weighed 4.78 pounds.  It was caught in 1981 by Jack Folz at Lost River in Hardy County.  The Lost River is a 31 mile river that earns its name from its one mile underground course, disappearing from the surface at Baker, West Virginia and reappearing nearby at Wardensville, WV.  While unchanged, once the water reemerges it becomes the Cacapon River.

The biggest brook trout caught in West Virginia by weight weighed 7.64 pounds and measured 22.25 inches.It was caught in 2004 by Gary Chapman at Shavers Fork of the Cheat River, one of the five Forks of Cheat and flows 89 miles through Tucker, Randolph and Pocahontas Counties.

WV Trout Fishing

WV State Record Brown Trout

Brown Trout are the largest species of trout found in West Virginia and their predatory nature makes them a true trophy.  Their ability to withstand a wider range of water temperatures allows them to survive in a variety of environments.  Their large size enables them to have a diverse diet and they are even known to consume mice.

The biggest brown trout caught in West Virginia weighed 16 pounds and measured 32 inches.  To put its size into perspective, the state record brown trout is nearly twice as heavy as all the other record holding fish.  It was caught in 1968 by Paul Barker at South Branch of the Potomac River, a record that has stood for 55 years.

Rainbow Trout WV

WV State Record Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is immediately recognizable due to its bright coloring and iconic appearance.  While not the largest or the rarest fish on the list, it’s a favorite pursuit of anglers across the globe.  The rainbow trout can be found in all fifty states of the United States and on every continent except Antarctica.

The biggest Rainbow Trout caught in West Virginia weighed 11.74 pounds and measured 31.7 inches.  It was caught in 1993 by John Arnett at Stonecoal Lake, a Wildlife Management Area on the border of Lewis County and Upshur County. 

Stonecoal Lake is a 550 acre lake centrally located in the state near Weston, WV.  It is surrounded by the 2,985 acre Stonecoal Lake Wildlife Management Area.  The lake was built in 1972 to provide water to Allegheny Energy’s coal-fired power plant in Harrison County.  The lake has two boat ramps and a handicap accessible fishing dock and parking lot.

WV State Record Tiger Trout

Tiger Trout are a sterile hybrid bred from a female Brown Trout and a Male Brook Trout.  They are rare to find in nature and are primarily stocked in lakes and streams after being raised in hatcheries.

The largest Tiger Trout caught in West Virginia weighed 6.68 pounds and measured 26 inches long.
It was caught by John Duncan in 1986 in the Greenbrier River, a 162 mile long tributary of the New River in the southeastern part of West Virginia.  The Greenbrier River is the longest unblocked river in the eastern United States and flows through Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Summers Counties.  

With that many spots to cast a line, it’s safe to say that you’re unlikely to end up in the same spot that John Duncan did in 1986 when he reeled in the state record Tiger Trout.     

Trout Fishing in WV

WV State Record Golden Rainbow Trout

The Golden Rainbow Trout originated in West Virginia in 1955 at a hatchery in Petersburg, WV.  Holding the state record for biggest golden rainbow trout holds special significance.  Two individuals have rightful claim to that title as the biggest by weight and length were two different fish.

The biggest Golden Rainbow Trout caught in West Virginia by weight weighed 9.72 pounds and measured 27.5 inches.
It was caught in 2023 by Benji Lilly of Beckley.  Benji caught the record golden rainbow trout at Little Beaver State Park Pond.  The new record eclipsed the previous record held by Danny Crider since 1998.

The biggest Golden Rainbow Trout caught in West Virginia by length measured 27.5 inches and weighed 8.63 pounds.  It was caught by Gerald Estep at Stonecoal Lake.  Gerald reeled in the state record golden trout in 1987.

In 2023 the WV DNR will release 50,000 Golden Rainbow Trout into West Virginia waters at the annual West Virginia Gold Rush so be ready to get out and try to top one of these current West Virginia state records.

Where is the next West Virginia state record trout hiding, lying in wait for its next meal?  Start planning your trip now and remember, two entries have been pulled from Stonecoal Lake, so the odds may be in your favor if you’re starting there.  Enjoy the chase and share your success stories with us this season.

Remember, all anglers age 15 and older are required to have a West Virginia fishing license with a current trout stamp and a valid form of identification while fishing. A fishing license can be purchased online at WVfish.com. Make sure you are up to date on all of West Virginia’s fishing regulations.

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