Rick Beauchamp, of Mayfield, Fulton County, is the new holder of the state record for brook trout after catching a six-pound, 22.5-inch brook trout in Silver Lake on May 16, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday.
Mr. Beauchamp reeled in the record-breaking fish while fishing Silver Lake in Hamilton County in the Adirondack’s Silver Lake Wilderness. The new record brook trout, caught on a lake clear wabbler and worm, weighed in at slightly just more than 6 pounds, surpassing the previous state record set in 2012 by two ounces.
“Through Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, DEC is promoting and expanding access for anglers,” said Commissioner Joe Martens. “I’d like to congratulate Mr. Beauchamp on this new record catch and encourage all New Yorkers to continue to utilize the great natural resources and fishing opportunities the state has to offer.”
The brook trout is not only a success for Mr. Beauchamp, but it also reflects the ongoing recovery of Adirondack lakes from the effects of acid rain. Until a few years ago, Silver Lake was too acidified to support a trout population. In 1969 the lake was determined to be fishless and in 1976 it had a pH of 5.0 which is too acidic for brook trout to thrive. After water chemistry samples indicated the pH of lake had risen to almost 6.0, DEC began an experimental stocking program for brook trout in 2002. Currently DEC stocks Windfall strain native brook trout in Silver Lake and brook trout are the only fish species known to be present.
Mr. Beauchamp submitted details of his winning catch as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record.