Bill Maynard Jr. of Rockwood shows off the length of the 41-inch, 29.67-pound lake trout he caught in 2009. Credit: Courtesy of Bill Maynard Jr.

So, you went out to your local lake last weekend and ended up catching the biggest fish of your life. You’ve already showed your fish photos to all of your friends and relatives (several times), and you know that there are plenty of others who’d love to see them.

What’s an angler to do?

Well, we’re interested. Share your fish pics with us, and you might become nearly, almost famous. Or, at the very least, your fish might. Our readers, we’ve learned, really, really love photos of big fish.

Here then, are some guidelines to help you get that big ol’ muskie out in front of thousands of fishing fans.

— You don’t have to kill your fish to take a photo of it. I know, I know, that’s often what you do. But do yourself (and the resource) a favor: Consider taking a quick measurement and a photo or two, then putting the fish back to swim another day. And if you’re looking to get a great taxidermy mount done of your best catch ever, there are plenty of artists who can help you with a carving or synthetic mount.

— Little kids catching fish are good. Our readers love those photos, even if the fish aren’t huge … as long as the photo is well-composed. Big kids catching big fish are good, too. But adults? Well, we want to see a whopper. To answer your next question, No. We don’t have a rigid set of guidelines about how big a fish has to be in order for us to feature it on our site or in our pages. Here’s an easy hint, though: If your fishing buddies say, “Man, that fish is a hog!” you might be getting close. Of course, if your fishing buddies just took up the sport, their opinions might not mean much. When in doubt, send it in.

— Stand in front of a neutral background. No snowmobiles (unless, as in the photo that I’ve used to illustrate this story, the snowmobile has a dog sitting on it). No pickup trucks. Get your friends and family members to step out of the shot.

— Important: Put down your beer. Or your cigarette. Or both. Now take two giant steps away from your cigarette (and your beer) so that we don’t see them in the photo. We don’t want our readers to be distracted. We want them to focus on your fish.

— Wipe any blood off your fish. Trust me. The pic will be better if you do.

— If you’re ice fishing, take a photo of the fish before leaving it in a snowbank for three hours. Nobody wants to see a photo of a fish-sicle. Nobody. (Unless the fish is really, truly, a hog. Then we might be able to break a few rules.

— Shoot the photo as a horizontal, not a vertical. I know, I know. The photo that we used to illustrate this story is a vertical. It was also taken 12 years ago, when we weren’t worried about how photos showed up on the internet. Also, that photo has a cool dog in it, so we might have made some allowances anyway.

— If you keep looking at the photo and focusing on the beagle, not the fish, maybe this column is not aimed at you. But if you are focusing on the beagle, here’s the answer to the question you’ve been asking: the dog’s name is Lyle.

Good luck fishing! I’ll be watching for your photos.

Send your great fish pics to me at

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John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...