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State Record Rainbow Trout Caught…and Released


Monster trout may be the largest ever caught in Idaho.

Larry Warren landed a huge rainbow trout in the North Fork of Idaho’s Clearwater River in early January. He performed angler’s CPR (catch, photograph, and release) on the fish but took time to weigh it before returning it to the river.

The 28-pound fish topped the current Idaho state record by eight pounds, but releasing it means Larry’s state record won’t officially hold because he didn’t weigh it on a certified scale.

The state of Idaho considers any rainbow trout longer than 20 inches caught in the Clearwater drainage to be a steelhead. True steelhead are the anadromous variety of rainbow trout, meaning they spend part of their life in the ocean, then return to fresh water to spawn. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still protects wild Idaho steelhead under the Endangered Species Act as threatened, so Larry’s fish had to be released.

Naturally produced fish, like Larry’s, have an intact adipose fin (the small fatty appendage behind the dorsal fin), and must be released. Fish stocked by Idaho Fish and Game have clipped adipose fins and can generally be kept by anglers. One Idaho Fish and Game official said it was the biggest rainbow trout he’d ever seen, and that fish is still swimming somewhere in the Clearwater River.

Thinking of a road trip to take your shot at catching a monster? Me too!

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State Record Rainbow Trout Caught…and Released