Catch inequality occurs when a small number of anglers catch a disproportionally large number of fish. Catch inequality is a common occurrence in recreational fisheries, but long-term changes in catch inequality are rarely measured. We evaluated catch inequality in archived long-term complete-trip creel census records from a trout stream in southeastern New York. These records document all fish caught for each angler over a 20-year period. Catch inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, increased significantly during the study period. Catch per unit effort and an inequality-standardized measure of catch per unit effort declined significantly throughout the study. We tested the hypothesis that between-angler inequality increases as catch per unit effort declines. There was no change in between-angler inequality but between-trip inequality increased substantially. Trip-to-trip variability, not between-angler variability, accounts for increased catch inequality when catch per unit effort declines. Catch inequality increases as catch per unit effort declines, but less successful anglers are not disproportionately affected.