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groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
World Record Laker?


Outdoors magazine:



Breaking News:
World Record Laker Caught
on Lake Champlain?

We hear a lot of fish stories at Outdoors Magazine but none of them is better than that of Nicholas Palmer, age 15, of Alburgh, Vermont who set the Lake Champlain fishing world abuzz on Saturday when he landed a 16.8-pound lake trout on 2-pound test. While the fish itself is spectacular the manner in which it was caught is even better.

Nicholas was fishing with his father, Raleigh, on the Inland Sea portion of the lake off of North Hero. The pair almost didn't go out because Nicholas had a hockey game later in the day and wouldn't have much time. Instead he insisted they fish for a little while, and the father/son team imposed a curfew of 10:00 a.m. to be off the ice.

At about 9:45 a.m. Nicholas wanted to try one more hole. He commented that the hole he was using was fished-out and drilled a new one about 15 feet away through almost 25-inches of ice. After he cleaned it out he dropped his line down. He was using a green bibbet he had made himself and his reel was set-up light with 2-pound test line.

According to Nick's father, as soon as he dropped the bibbet the fish struck. Initially he thought it was a perch because the big laker was running towards the hole. "Then his rod doubled-over to the handle," said Raleigh.

Nicholas played the fish for almost 25 minutes before getting it close. It immediately became apparent the fish was going to be too big to get through the 6-inch diameter hole.

After several tries Raleigh reached into the hole through the 24-inches of ice and was able to grab the fish's head and guide it through. It was a tight fit, and in the process one of the front fins was ripped off.

By this time it was about 10 minutes after 10:00 a.m. and the duo had to hustle. One of the other fishermen suggested they weigh it but Raleigh was worried about the time it would take. As he was driving off the lake his cell phone rang; it was one of their fishing buddies. He had called Holiday Harbor Motel, which also sells bait and rents ice shanties, and Bruce Batchelder, the owner,  was standing by with a certified scale.  It would be a half-mile out of their way and only take a few minutes to get it weighed.

The big laker tipped the scales at 16.8 pounds.

Initially it was believed this was a new record for Lake Champlain, however, Shawn Good of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife double checked the trophy fish records and found out that the current Lake Champlain record is 17.95 pounds. Because that fish had been caught last summer and it takes a little while to process the paperwork  it does not appear on the state's website yet. 

Good also points out that the state Master Angler Program only reflects the fish that have been officially entered, which is an easy process. He encourages everyone with a good fish to do this because not only does it help with record keeping, but it also aids biologists in keeping an eye on the caliber of fish that are being caught.

We also contacted the IGFA, who serve as record keepers for line-test weight world records. According to their spokesman, the official world record for a laker on 2-pound test is 24 pounds. Unfortunately, the IGFA does not keep separate records for ice fishing, and it is very plausible Palmer's fish is a line-class world record in this category.

Batchelder was not necessarily surprised to see a fish of that caliber come out of the Inland Sea, an area traditionally known for its salmon. Recently he has seen the development of a core group of anglers who have devoted themselves to jigging for big lake trout in the area and they have been having fantastic results. He also notes that almost all of these fish are very clean and full of alewives.

Raleigh Palmer noted that one of the best things about his son's fish was that it didn't have a scar from a lamprey on it.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
That's a huge fish, but Oh my

That's a huge fish, but Oh my gosh, talk about a small world!

First, I hunt in Alburgh. 

Second, I grew up just across the lake in Swanton, and the kids that live in Alburgh go to the same high school.

Third, I just called my Dad when you posted this story.  He said he knows that family's name, and may have coached an older sister in softball, if it's the right ones.

Fourth, my first serious girlfriend, who I dated for about 5 months as a senior, is the daughter of the owner of the hotel. :lol:  He didn't own a hotel then, but I can't believe that there are 2 guys on that small island, with the same name.

He actually let me hunt on his land when I was dating his daughter. Wink

Back to the fish, that is a monster.  I have spent hundreds of hours fishing on Lake Champlain, and taken some good fish, but that is a beast!  Not to mention he caught it on 2 piund test.  Geez!

Thanks for posting Mike, this makes me a little homesick.


jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 832
That is a very nice Lake

That is a very nice Lake Trout, and especially to be caught on 2 pound test line.

Of course, coming from a state where our state record Lake Trout is 61 pounds 8 ounces, one that doesn't even touch 17 pounds is what we call "bait".  :lol:  Just kidding, of course.

Could someone enlighten me as to what a "green bibbet" is? I see by the story that's what the boy used for bait. That must be something local to the area, because I have fished all my life and have never heard of a bibbet, green or otherwise.

Thanks for reporting this story.


saskie's picture
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Natl Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

IGFA may not recognize ice fishing as a separate category, but the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame does, he might want to record it there for recognition:


The biggest laker I've caught was apprx 7lbs on 8lb test. I just can't comprehend landing a fish that big on a little ice stick with 2lb test line. Well done!!!Applause

ndemiter's picture
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Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
that's pretty incredible!

that's pretty incredible! i've seen pictures of guys in alberts and manitoba holding lakers too big for one man to really lift. it's a humerous gag, but i often wondered what the actual records for them were like.

it's pretty cool, not many children can say they've done that.

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