New Lake Burton Trout Record Just A Bit Bittersweet

Mike Bolton | July 11, 2022

Tom Fox with the 12-lb., 4-oz. Lake Burton record brown trout he caught on May 30, 2022.

Tom Fox realized a decades-old dream when he broke the Lake Burton record for brown trout recently, but he says the prize was a little bittersweet. GON has confirmed Tom’s 12-lb., 4-oz. brown trout as the largest-ever recorded from Lake Burton. Mixed in with Tom’s joy was a little heartfelt sadness for a young kid.

“I can’t help but think about young Camden,” Tom said. “I sincerely hope he keeps fishing and breaks my record. I believe he will.”

Camden is Camden Rinckey, the previous lake-record holder. Camden was just 7 years old when he caught the Lake Burton record of 11-lbs., 14-ozs. in May of 2018. You can watch Camden’s excitement as he made that catch on video and see the article here.

7-Year Old Sets Burton Brown Trout Record

The Memorial Day weekend must be prime time for big brown trout on the lake. Both Tom’s trout and Camden’s trout came on Memorial Day weekend.

“I have been fishing Lake Burton for about 30 years,” Tom explained. “I live on Dick’s Creek about six months out of the year and spend the other six months out of the year south of Atlanta. I’m usually in Clayton from May to October, and I fish on Lake Burton probably two to three times a week on average. It’s probably four times a week in April and May and the same in the fall.”

Lake Burton is a 2,775-acre lake located in the northeastern corner of Georgia in Rabun County. It was formed by the construction of a dam in a deep valley, giving the lake a maximum water depth of 105 feet. Tom says the deep water in the lake is cold at depths of 40 and 50 feet, making it a perfect habitat for brown trout.

Lake Burton Page: Fishing Reports & Archived Articles

“Brown trout prefer a water temperature of 55 degrees,” Tom said. “I can only tell what the surface temperature is in my boat, but I can see the trout on my unit in 40, 50 and even 60 feet, so I figure it is close to 55 degrees. I’m guessing at that.”

The technique to catch brown trout in Lake Burton is no one’s secret, Tom says, but the how-to rig is his secret, and he prefers to keep it that way.

“The brown backs are feeding on bluebacks,” he said. “I’m fishing live bait, but that’s all I want to say.”

Tom weighed his trout on a hand-held digital scale in his boat and realized it was probably a record, but getting it weighed on a certified scale on Memorial Day proved to be a challenge.

“We rushed it to the fish hatchery to have it weighed, but the hatchery was closed,” he said. “We got it back home, and I went to a neighbor’s house, and we got the fish revived in the cold creek. We finally got somebody from DNR on the phone, and they said somebody was at the hatchery when we were there, but the gate was closed because they were working with a skeleton crew because it was Memorial Day. We went back and got the fish weighed, and it weighed 12-lbs., 4-ozs., the same my hand-held scale showed.”

An interesting side note to Tom’s story is that he said his son, Kyle, caught the same fish on June 25, 2021.

“We know it was the same fish because the spots were identical around the gill and tail,” he said. “At that time, it weighed 10-lbs., 5-ozs. When he saw it wasn’t the record, he released it.”


Lake Burton Record Fish

Largemouth Bass14-lbs.Carl Lovell Jr.05/28/93
Spotted Bass8-lbs., 2-ozs.Wayne Holland02/23/05
Smallmouth Bass4-lbs.Jeff Blair10/15/08
Striped Bass47-lbs.Robin Vaughn12/02/88
Hybrid Bass12-lbs., 12-ozs.Richard Sokolowski05/03/15
White Bass3-lbs., 2-ozs.Tod Hickman05/02/12
Walleye11-lbs.Steven Kenny04/13/63
Yellow Perch2-lbs., 9-ozs.*Emerson Mulhall02/18/24
Black Crappie2-lbs., 11-ozs.Tom Cook03/07/94
Brown Trout12-lbs., 4-ozs.Tom Fox05/30/22
Rainbow Trout6-lbs.Lila Kilby10/21/22
Shellcracker3-lbs.Greg Taylor05/21/75
Bluegill1-lb., 15,5-ozs.J. Gary Simmons07/03/76
Channel Catfish18-lbs., 12-ozs.Bland Burroughs10/14/94
White Catfish4-lbs., 4-ozs.Bill Papineau10/02/93

See all of GON’s official Georgia Lake & River Records here.

Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with state game and fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present, who must be willing to provide their names and phone numbers so they can be contacted to verify the weighing of the fish.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel.

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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