A Minnesota man has paid a $400 fine for catching and keeping a huge lake trout from a lake in Ontario — a fish that could have shattered a world record.

Rob Scott, 65, caught the fish in February on Crane Lake. It weighed more than 52 pounds (23.6 kg).

The Ministry of Natural Resources charged him and confiscated the fish, because he had caught two lake trout that day, when the law allows only one to be retained.

Scott told CBC News he made a mistake giving a smaller fish to someone else. He admitted his actions to the MNR, and freely pleaded guilty.

Crane Lake

Crane Lake, where the 52-pound Lake Trout was caught by a Minnesota angler, is located in the far reaches of northwestern Ontario. (Google)

Despite the fact he lost a world record because the fish was caught illegally, Scott said he still has a smile on his face.

"I have zero animosity, negativity or any of those words to the professionalism of the MNR,” he said.

“I got myself in a situation, you know, where I ended up with that fish. And, as I told the conservation officer … I caught two and I didn't have two in my possession, I gave one of them away, but you can't do that in your country. That was my honest mistake, and that's why I pleaded guilty.”

Scott said he caught the fish, and no one can take that away, even though he was in violation of the limit “that you can't catch two trout in Canada on the same day."

According to a story written for Twincities.com, Scott said he had planned to submit the fish — which was caught on a tip-up line — to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis. He said he knew it could potentially break the record in the ice-fishing tip-up category, which currently sits at 29 pounds, 6 ounces (13.3 kg).

The ministry said it will consider mounting the fish and using it in its public outreach program.

“We have an outreach trailer that we use for displays for law enforcement work, and we've got some other mounted game that we use in the trailer,” said enforcement supervisor Kevin Elliott.

“We've talked about the option of getting this fish mounted and including it in that display."

Elliott said the catch-and-retain limit of one-per-day applies to non-residents fishing border waters in that part of northwestern Ontario, the Fort Frances and Atikokan areas.