Johnson, of Sapphire, landed the huge trout on January 28 from the Horsepasture River in Jackson County.
on Jan. 28. Johnson caught her record-breaking rainbow, which measured 34½ inches in length and 23½ inches in girth, using a Rapala lure on a Shakespeare Microspin rod with a Wally Marshall reel.
The fish was weighed on certified scales at Ingles in Brevard and verified by Powell Wheeler, a fisheries biologist with the Commission.
The previous North Carolina state record rainbow trout, caught by Terry Gregory of Franklin on Dec. 20, 1989, weighed 16 pounds, 5 ounces.
According to International Game Fish Association records, the largest rainbow trout on record weighed 42 pounds, 2 ounces and was caught from Bell Island in Alaska in 1970.
To qualify for a North Carolina freshater state record, anglers must have caught their fish on a hook and line, must have their fish weighed on a certified scale witnessed by one observer, have the fish positively identified by a qualified expert from the Commission and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish.