Size of Rainbow Trout

While not a different species, Alaskan Rainbow trout can be substantially larger than Rainbow trout in the United States.

Alaskan Rainbow Trout Size Averages:

  • Length: 15″ – 32+”
  • Weight: 3 lbs – 18+lbs

Rainbow Trout Size Averages:

  • Length: 12″ – 30″
  • Weight: 1 lb – 5lbs

Due to the various size differences in the Rainbow Trout species, we recommend two different fly rods.

If you’re fishing for above average Rainbow Trout, exceeding 15″ we recommend the “Alaska Rainbow Trout Fly Rod”.

If you are fishing for the more common Rainbow Trout, less than 15″ we recommend the “Rainbow Trout Fly Rod” above.

Rainbow trout vs. Steelhead fishing

What is the difference between Rainbow Trout and Steelhead?

Rainbow Trout are one of the most popular fly fishing species to fish for and with their bright  vivid coloring, strength and eagerness to bite there is no speculation as to why this species of salmonid has been introduced to over 45 countries.

Are Rainbow Trout the same as Steelheads? 

Yes, Rainbow Trout and Steelheads are the same species of fish.

However, there is a significant difference between the two types of Rainbow Trout.

Some Rainbow Trout can also be referred to as, “Steelhead”. The difference between Rainbow Trout and Steelhead (still of the Rainbow Trout species) are that Steelhead live in the ocean for 2 – 3 years at sea before returning to fresh water to spawn. 

In the United States, fishing for Steelhead in Washington and Alaska is phenomenal.

Top lakes to fish for Rainbow Trout

The most popular lakes to fish for Rainbow Trout are:

  • Lake Tahoe
  • Lake Geneva
  • Lake Winnipesaukee
  • Lake Washington 
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Lake Sakakawea
  • Watauga Lake
  • Lake St. Clair
  • Okangan Lake
  • Walden Pond
  • Lake Eildon
  • Lake Wylie
  • Falming George Reservoir
  • Lake Chelan
  • Shasta Lake
  • Iliamna Lake
  • Kootenay Lake
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Oroville
  • Shuswap Lake
  • Lake Cumberland
  • Lake Taneycomb
  • Lake Berryessa
  • Raystown Lake
  • Lake Wallenpaupack
  • Lake Mohave
  • Lake Keowee
  • Tellico Reservoir
  • Crater Lake

While lake fishing for rainbow trout is good… the river fishing for Rainbow Trout is GREAT! Don’t be afraid to venture out into the rivers for very agressive Rainbow Trout fishing.

The 30″ Club – giant rainbow trout

Heidi Wild, Winter fishing the Kenai River in Alaska for Rainbow Trout. This Rainbow Trout does not make the 30″ necessary to be “a part of the club” but just look at that girth! Clearly the colder temperatures have not made it difficult for this Rainbow Trout to find a meal.

Rainbow Trout in Alaska are known by anglers for their length, exceeding at times more than 30″. Once you have caught a 30″ or greater Rainbow Trout you are said to have made “The 30″ Club”. 

This particular Rainbow Trout was caught in Winter on the Kenai River using a sculpin pattern.