Record-setting rainbow trout pulled from Antietam Creek in Boonsboro

13 February 2024- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recognizes Jean-Philippe Lartigue of Bethesda as a new state record holder for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Nontidal Division. Lartigue caught a 17.44-pound rainbow trout February 10 in the section of Antietam Creek running through Devil’s Backbone County Park in Washington County. 

Lartigue was fishing with a long, 12-foot crappie-style rod, spinning reel, eight-pound test monofilament line, a small split-shot weight, and a No. 8 hook baited with a natural worm bait when he hooked the massive rainbow trout. 

Lartigue worked as a fisheries biologist consulting with governments in Africa before he retired and settled in Maryland, where he is an avid angler. Lartigue is French and originally from 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. 

The Department of Natural Resources maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and complete a state record application and call 443-569-1398. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until an official can check, confirm, and certify it.