Record Togue Caught
By Suzanne AuClair

Bill Maynard of Rockwood snagged a new record for togue on Moosehead Lake. The massive lake trout officially tipped the scale at 29.67 pounds and measured 41 inches long, upending the old official record for Moosehead Lake, set in 1961 with a weight of 28 pounds and 12 ounces.

“I can’t get over how fat he was,” said Maynard, an avid outdoorsman and one of the operators of the family-run business Maynard’s In Maine, a 90-year-old set of traditional sporting camps and lodge located in Rockwood. “I stayed on the ice another three-and-a-half hours. I thought I might find his running mate, but it didn’t happen.”

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Maynard, his father Bill Maynard, Sr., and buddy Bill Avery, also of Rockwood, were out fishing on the lake the morning of March 10 when his reel started a fast spin. He said he watched it, saw the line was running at a good clip, and decided to wait it out. He let the fish go until almost the entire reel of line was out, then started to play it in. He said he had no idea how big it was until they pulled it up from the hole, about a half hour from the time it was set. He said what he pulled in was a real surprise.

“I was expecting maybe 10 to 15 pounds,” said a smiling Maynard, still shaking his head over the new record. “I’m usually catching small togue. My largest was about four-and-a-half pounds.”

But this one he said just kept coming out of the water and turned out to be as big around as a football.

“It’s great and I’m happy,” he said.

Not one to rest on his laurels, however, the quiet man with a big love of the outdoors said he has no plans to quit fishing now, “There’re bigger ones out there, so I’ll keep trying. But if I catch another really big one, I’ll let him go.” This one he plans to have mounted.

Moosehead Lake Regional Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey estimated the lake trout to be upwards of 30 years old and said the Maynard catch rivals the state record, which stands at 31 pounds, eight ounces, taken from Beech Hill Pond near Ellsworth in 1958.

Maynard, usually seen with his beagle, Lyle, by his side, said it took him four times to set the monster lake trout and that once he got the fish near the hole in the ice, the togue started changing directions a lot and he was afraid he might lose the fish by the line snapping against the ridges of the ice.

“I’ve heard of that happening so many times. You get the fish up, but then it slips out of your hands and down into the water,” said Maynard.

But that didn’t happen. He said once he got the lake trout’s head out of the water, he took hold of a gill and his friend grabbed around the fish. That fish wasn’t going anywhere.

With a wide grin Maynard had a word of caution for the weigh stations, “You’re gonna need a larger certified scale. This is Moosehead Lake, after all.”

In an unusual twist to the day, the skilled fisherman was only half kidding, since it took three tries and half the day before the prize officially found a place on the books.

After nearly four hours laid out on the ice, the granddaddy lake trout still weighed in at over 30 lbs. on a UPS scale at the Moosehead Bait and Tackle Shop in Rockwood. A second weigh-in was taken at Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville, where they said it maxed out their certified 30 lb. scale. To secure an official weight, Maynard said he was directed to take the fish to the meat scales located in Dover-Foxcroft. By the end of the day he found another certified scale at Countryside Meats that, even after hours of handling, provided him with what became the official reading of 29.67 pounds.

The slow-growing lake trout are native to Moosehead Lake and won’t spawn until they reach approximately eight years of age. Official records, kept about Moosehead Lake since 1944, show togue have reached a weight of 20 lbs. or more 22 times. Only four times has a togue 28 lbs. or more been recorded. The last time was in 1973. But skilled anglers will find some Moosehead Lake togue reaching weights into the double digits, though a good catch is considered to be in the four to five pound range. Today, the lake is hopping with young lake trout.

Unofficially, a 32 lb. togue was taken in 1937 by Mrs. Charles Judkins of the former Kineo Hotel.

A 29 lb. togue, recorded in Harper’s Magazine, was said to have been taken on Moosehead Lake in 1896, the largest purportedly in 25 years.

Suzanne AuClair is an avid outdoorswoman. She lives in Rockwood and has been writing about the Moosehead Lake region for various publications for the past 14 years. She is an award-winning member of the New England Outdoor Writers Assn.

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