World Record Brown Trout Caught in Sturgeon Bay

On Saturday, April 24th, 2021, Wade Geenen and myself were fishing on Lake Michigan out of the Sturgeon Bay area in Door County.  Sturgeon Bay is known for its world class smallmouth fishing and that was our target that day.  We were catching smallmouth on hair jigs, swimbaits, and crankbaits.  We had caught a few fish that morning and around 10am we decided to change fishing locations.


At the new fishing location, we were working an area over with limited results when I finally tied on one of Jimmy D's hair jigs and caught a nice 4 pound class smallmouth. I have been using Jimmy's hair jigs for over a decade now and literally have caught hundreds if not thousands of bass off of them over the years. We proceeded to cast to the general area where that fish was caught and a few casts later I hooked a nice fish again on Jimmy D's hair jig. After fighting the fish for a few seconds, I saw a silver flash from either the side or the belly of the fish as it rolled just below the surface. I told Wade that it was either a Brown Trout or a Steelhead. I then fought the fish for a few minutes on 5 lb test line with my 7’6” St. Croix Legend Tournament Walleye rod while still not realizing the size of the fish. I finally got the fish close enough where we can get a good look at it in the clear waters of Door County. That is when I realized that I had a big Brown Trout at the end of the line.

Ben Otto, 32 lb., 9 oz. brown trout, 4-24-21

Upon seeing the fish for the first time, I estimated it was around 25 pounds as this was by far the biggest trout I have ever caught. The fish made a couple of runs away from the boat and we were finally able to put the fish in the Frabill net. It was at that moment that both of us realized that we had just caught a special fish. We knew immediately that it was over 25 pounds and we began to check the regulations and state records for Brown Trout on our cell phones as we thought it could be a potential state record fish for the state of Wisconsin.


Although the fish was short of the state record by a few pounds, we knew this was a fish of a lifetime, so we decided to keep the fish so that I could have it mounted. Upon doing further research later that day, we realized that this fish could be a line class world record. I knew at that point I needed to have the fish weighed on a certified scale, so I took the fish to Pulaski Warehouse where two of the employees weighed the fish on a certified legal for trade scale that had just recently had a certified inspection. The fish weighed 32 lbs and 9 ounces! This is truly a fish of a lifetime that I feel extremely fortunate to have caught. The fish has been certified by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and is the new 6 lb. line class world record for Brown Trout caught on the best hair jigs on the market, Jimmy D's!