17-Pound Rainbow Is A Maryland Record!

Photo courtesy of Jean-Philippe Lartigue.


Jean-Philippe Lartigue, of Bethesda, Maryland, caught a 17.44-pound rainbow trout on Feb. 10 that shattered the 14.2-pound previous Maryland state record that had stood since 1987.

Lartigue, a former fisheries biologist in Africa, was fishing Antietam Creek on Devil’s Backbone County Park in Washington County when the giant ’bow ate the worm he was fishing on a No. 8 hook. It must have been a heck of a fight on a long, 12-foot crappie-style rod, a light spinning reel and 8-pound-test line.

This long-rod technique is something Lartigue brought with him from his native Morocco, where he learned from his father the European style of fishing natural baits with long rods for trout. The long rod helps to control the drift and presentation of natural baits in swift stream currents.

“I knew the fish was a very large trout, but I did not see how big it was at the beginning of the fight,” Lartigue said. “I finally saw the fish, and it made two very long runs to the opposite side of the creek and was hard to move. I also had to keep the fish away from some bridge abutments, which could have cut the line easily… After a very long 30-minute fight, I was able to tire out the fish and grabbed it by the jaw with my fingers since I did not have a landing net large enough.”

Lartigue then slid the fish onto a rocky bank, cutting his finger in the process from the fish’s teeth.

The fish measured 32 inches long. Its weight was determined on a certified scale at Ernst’s Country Market in Clear Spring. DNR’s director of freshwater fisheries and hatcheries, John Mullican, confirmed the species.

The catch shatters the previous record of 14.2 pounds caught by Dave Schroyer on October 21, 1987.

“We are extremely impressed by the weight of the fish, which bests the old record by over 3 pounds, a record that many of us in the department thought would never be broken,” said Recreational Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz.

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.