A Maine state record lake trout was caught July 2 on Richardson Lake, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries.
The angler is Erik Poland, 34, of Andover, Maine and his fish was 44 inches long and weighed 39.2 pounds. The fish was caught in Lower Richardson Lake in Township C. The lake is east of Errol, New Hampshire.
"I’m pretty excited and I’m in disbelief," Poland told the Sun in a Facebook message.
His lake trout is now the record in all of New England as it surpasses a New Hampshire laker that was caught during the winter.
He is taking the fish to Mountain Deer Taxidermy in Vermont. He said he probably won't learn what the fish had been feeding on until the taxidermist opens it up.
Biologist Liz Thorndike told The Sun, “A fish of that size has its choice of food. I found it interesting the angler caught a togue (another name for lake trout) of that size on a lure that imitates a smelt, which suggests the togue is foraging on smelt. Richardson lake has an abundant population of both smelt and landlocked alewives, both have been documented in the stomachs of other togue caught in Richardson Lakes. A togue of this size could prey upon stocked fish and likely had at some point but also large togue have been documented to prey upon juvenile togue as well."
The previous Maine record Lake trout was 31 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by Hollis Grindle 1958 at Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Maine.
Poland wasn't even looking for lake trout.
"I had a couple of hours to kill,” the Bangor Daily News quotes Poland as saying. "I thought I’d fish for salmon for a while, go for a swim, then head home."
The Maine Inland Fisheries blog says they will work with Poland to determine how old the fish is.
"Lake trout are historically native to Maine," states a post on the Inland Fisheries blog. "They are one of the longest living freshwater fish species and the largest native species found in Maine. MDIFW Fisheries Biologists have documented numerous lake trout that are older than 25 years, and some even older than 30. When a fish can live for over 30 years, it’s bound to get quite large!
"The most accurate way to determine the age a lake trout is to examine tiny 'ear' bones called otoliths under a microscope... We have been in contact with Erik, and he has agreed to save the otolith bone of his fish so we can determine just how old it is!"
Poland said he looks forward to getting those results back.
According to Maine Inland Fisheries, lake trout are typically 18 to 24 inches and weigh between 2 and 4 pounds.
This fish comes on the heels of a state record lake trout being caught in New Hampshire.
Meredith man Thomas Knight known for his fish-catching prowess shattered the New Hampshire record for lake trout set in 1958 with a 42-inch, 37.65-pound specimen caught in February on Big Diamond Pond in West Stewartstown.
The previous Granite State record, caught in Newfound Lake in Bristol, was 28 pounds.
New Hampshire Fish and Game biologist Andrew Schafermeyer said in February that he suspects that Knight's fish had been eating stocked rainbow trout.
In Utah, a 10-year-old boy caught a massive 41-pound lake trout in June. The Utah state record is 51 pounds, 8 ounces.
"I guess it’s the year of the lake trout," said Poland.