Potential World Record Brown Trout Caught in Michigan's Big Manistee River

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 8:30 a.m. angler Tom Healy of Rockford, Michigan (at left in photo), landed what is now certified as the Michigan state record and the pending all-tackle world record brown trout. Click through the slides at left to read the full storyTim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
Healy was on a guided fishing trip on Michigan's Big Manistee River with river guru Tim Roller (at left, with the fish). He was casting a size-8 Rapala Shad Rap for Chinook salmon when the 41-pound 7.25-ounce, 43-inch brown ate the lure instead.Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
"The fight wasn't anything more than what a large salmon would have put up," said Healy. The battle lasted 15 minutes. The fish attempted to jump once, but it was so big that it just boiled and thrashed on the surface. "I was lucky - lucky to have it hit; lucky it didn't run into all the log jams around there; lucky to get the net under it. Somebody upstairs wanted me to catch this fish."Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
Guide Tim Roller (left) and angler Tom Healy pose with the record trout in front of Mark Chmura's Pier Pressure Charters Guide Service and Marina, in downtown Manistee, MI. Chmura, a guide, charter captain, and big brown trout aficionado, was guiding a trip near Roller and Healy's boat. He cut the trip short to help them weigh the fish. "The fish bottomed out Tim's Boga grip, so Chmura left the river for his scale," said Healy. When Chmura met Healy and Roller at the boat launch with the scale the crew realized they could be holding the new world record brown.Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
Here's the fish on the scale at Chmura's shop.Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
Healy holds his record up for the camera. "I was so worn out by six o'clock that evening from holding that fish up for TV crews that I could hardly lift my arms for the drive home," says the retired contractor. "All I hoped for that day was a nice quiet day on the Big Manistee."Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
The fish hit a silver-and-black Rapala Shad Rap SR-8, 3-1/8-inches long. The rod was a 9-foot medium-heavy Cabela's XML spinning rod, matched with a Prodigy spinning reel spooled with 30-pound-test PowerPro.David Rose
Roller (left) helps Healy hold up his giant brown trout for onlookers. "Man, this couldn't have happened to a better guy,' the veteran guide says. I've been fishing with him for 15 years; he's like a father to me. Anyone could have caught this fish, but the right man did."Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
Here Healy's buddy, Bob Woodhouse of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who was also fishing aboard Roller's 18-foot jet boat, holds the trout. The fish was 6 years old. How doses a fish get so big in that amount of time? "By eating … a lot!" says Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Todd Kalish, who certified that the fish was, indeed, a brown trout. According to Kalish, fish divide their energy into two things - growth and reproduction. Sometimes, though, growth gets a bigger share. "We've seen slow-to-develop reproductive organs in other species that have grown to super-size proportions; perhaps that's what happened with this fish," he adds.Tim Roller: ultimateoutfitters.com
This is the Tippy Dam, a few miles upstream from where the trout was caught. It is as far as this fish, which is thought to lived most of its life in Lake Michigan, could go up the Manistee. Anglers fish here in the late summer and early fall, looking for spawning salmon stacked up behind the dam. This is what Healy and Roller were doing when they caught the big trout.David Rose
Here's a shot of the Big Manistee River near where Healy's trout was caught. The Manistee has great habitat for browns, from deep log-jammed holes to shallow gravel-lined runs. This particular fish probably followed spawning salmon upstream to feed on wayward eggs.David Rose
Boats troll for trout and salmon at sunset in the mouth of the Manistee River, where it dumps into Lake Michigan. More Michigan state records have been taken near here than anywhere else. Healy's fish was landed a just few miles upstream.David Rose
Several 30-plus-pound browns have been taken along the pier at the Port of Manistee, MI, as well the ports to the south and north. Healy's fish passed right by here, through the gauntlet of downrigger cables, lines, and lures of these very anglers.David Rose
Most of the Manistee River runs through Manistee National Forest land - which requires a nominal fee to launch your boat, but pricey permit if you want to be a guide.David Rose
Manistee, Michigan, is more than just the Victorian port city; it's been catering to anglers since the early 1970's--after the first salmon run just north of here, in the Platte River, in 1967. "One of the most heartfelt things for me is how the town turned out as soon as I caught this fish, and the respect they not only given me, but the fish itself," says Healy.David Rose
The townspeople couldn't be prouder of this fish. Less than 24 hours of the catch and town's already prepping for what could be an onslaught of anglers. This sign was hand-written during the official weigh-in.David Rose
The previous state-record brown trout, caught by Casey Richey of Frankfort, Michigan, was caught on Mother's Day, 2007, within the pier heads of Betsie Bay (mouth of the Bestie River), just a few miles north of where the potential world record was caught. This fish was 36 pounds 13 ounces.David Rose
Another shot of the old state record.David Rose
Here's a shot of the current world record (which will fall, pending certification of Healy's catch). The fish was caught in 1992 in Arkansas' Little Red River. It weighed 40 pounds, 4 ounces, and was caught by Howard Collins. Healy is now filling out the paperwork necessary to certify his catch as the world-record at 41 pounds 7.25 ounces.

On Wednesday (Sept. 9) angler Tom Healy, fishing with guide Tim Roller, landed this 41.7-pound brown trout while fishing for salmon in Michigan's Manistee River. The trout has been certified as a new state record and is pending certification as the new all-tackle world record. Here is the story of how they caught this fish, along with the best photos you'll find of it on the Internet. Exclusively on FieldandStream.com!