The world record rainbow trout is 48 lbs. It was caught by Sean Konrad using a Rapala in Lake Diefenbaker, South Saskatchewan, Canada.
Lake Diefenbaker is featured on the map below and is known for its giant trout, in fact, the previous world record rainbow trout was also caught there.
What’s The Story Behind This World Record Rainbow Trout?
Image Source: https://www.wired.com
Sean Konrad isn’t new to the world record rainbow trout game as his identical twin brother, Adam Konrad held the record rainbow trout before Sean blew it out of the water.
Both of these record fish were caught in the same place, Lake Diefenbaker which is world-renowned for record trout. The twins are known for catching amazing fish in Lake Diefenbaker which holds the biggest rainbow trout in the world. So much so, that they only fish at night as if they go fishing in the morning, all the locals try to copy how they catch these larger fish and they want to keep it a secret.
Before they headed out that night, Adam teased Sean Konrad about having not caught a rainbow trout over 40 lbs yet, having fished for them a lot and lost big trout through being spooled. Adam also has two trout over 40 lbs as pound test world records and the then world record rainbow trout.
Little did they know what would happen that night. Fishing from a boat casting a Rapala and a spinning rod around the lake’s top spots that only Adam and Sean know, little did they know what was going to happen.
Sean hooked into the largest rainbow trout legally caught on rod and line and when they landed the record fish the weight they got off the scales first was 40 lbs but when they put it on an IGFA scale it hit 48 lbs blowing the record fish Adam set out of the water.
It’s hard to imagine rainbows over 15 lbs for us anglers and the measurements of this world record trout was 42 inches long with a 32-inch girth. When you imagine this, and you add fly fishing into the mix, it is wild and mind-boggling.
What Makes All These Fishing In Lake Diefenbaker So Big?
If you look at a picture of this World Record Rainbow Trout you will notice the shape of the fish and the huge tail. All these fish that push 20 lbs or more are genetically engineered to be triploid rainbows which means they don’t spawn.
These fish are consistently released in this lake in Canada which is why it delivers such big fish along with the state record and world record.
By not spawning, these rainbows don’t lose any energy by attempting to reproduce. All these fish do is feed all day long and the lake is filled to the brim with food for these rainbow trout.
Everything from crayfish to whitebait, which are high protein sources, combined with the lack of spawning make feeding a top priority and provide growth rates off the charts.
It’s said that the largest rainbow trout in this lake can live for more than 20 years and you can only imagine how much weight they gain in that time.
Where Were The Previous Records Caught?
American Falls Reservoir, USA
It’s not just this magical lake in Canada that produces record-weight rainbow trout. A state record was caught in American Falls Reservoir by Brett Jones and it measured an astounding 31.25 inches in length.
This lake/reservoir is renowned around the US for its trophy trout fish and the chances of a record being caught there are high. This record fish was actually released so you can head to the lake and try to catch it again.
Lake Ruataniwha, New Zealand
New Zealand is known as a fly fishing paradise that is home to some huge rainbow and brown trout. So for many anglers, trout fishing new zealand is a must! On the 6th of November 2019, Frank Bluch from Austria was fly fishing on Lake Ruataniwh when he caught the world record rainbow on fly for a 4 lb class tippet.
The fish weighed in at 29 lb 5 oz and was caught on a Beadhead Super Flash Zonker. He managed to get the fish to the bank in 10 minutes with a fly rod which is pretty incredible.
Ohau River, Twizel, New Zealand
The all-tackle length record rainbow trout was also caught in New Zealand but this time in a river instead of a lake. This rainbow was 94 cm long which is 37 inches and was caught by Mark Armistead.
Ruhr River, Kreuzau, Germany
The biggest rainbow trout caught on a fly rod that qualified according to the IGFA rules was caught on the Ruhr River in Germany. Dietmar Jeschke landed a 30 lb 15 oz rainbow trout on a 12 lb tippet on the fly way back on 27-Jul-1999.
Jurassic Lake, Argentina
You can’t talk about world record rainbow trout without mentioning Jurassic Lake. This lake provides a growth rate for rainbows that anglers fly from all over the world to fish and it is responsible for a few records. most notably the All-Tackle Length Fly World Record.
The All-Tackle Length Fly World Record measured 78 cm and was caught on the 20-Dec-2021 by James Schmid.
Tekapo Canal, New Zealand
The Tekapo Canal, New Zealand is another place where you can find some huge fish and mainly rainbows. This water is responsible for three sets of world records caught by the same angler on the same day.
Emily Allum broke the women’s 8 lb, 12 lb, and 16 lb conventional world records by catching a 29 lb 5 oz, 13 lb 3 oz, and the 9 lb 0 oz all in the same day. The day was 28-Jul-2019 and catching three fish of that size in one day is a dream for all anglers.
About Rainbow Trout
Rainbow trout are cold-water fish that are native to the rivers and lakes of North America but have been stocked across the world. They eat everything from small fish to crayfish plus aquatic insects and dry flies too, as every fly fisher knows.
You can find them everywhere from Patagonia in South America to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and I have even caught them in a river or two in Kenya, India, and Ethiopia of all places. If there is cold water nearby, chances are you are never too far from a rainbow trout.
You can also find anadromous rainbow trout which are rainbow trout that go to sea to feed, just like sea-run brown trout and salmon. These are classed as a separate species and known as steelhead.
Steelhead are born in a river and can live in a river for a few years before going to sea to feed and then return to the river to spawn. Steelhead are prized by anglers across the world as catching one isn’t easy and they grow to great sizes by feeding on a rich protein diet in the ocean.
Steelhead aren’t as global as rainbow trout though and you only find them in the USA and Canada, British Columbia being one of the best places to try to catch them. That’s why fly fishing BC should never be out of your list of fly fishing destinations this year.
How Do I Target Big Rainbow Trout?
When going after big trout you should think about what a fish this size wants to eat when it comes to fishing tactics. It’s best to think of them like a hungry steelhead or salmon that has not been to sea.
Big trout tend to want big baits. Yes, during a huge hatch like the mayfly in early to late May these big fish will show themselves in the rivers and lakes but most of the time, they want a big meal.
Start fishing with big flies like articulated streamers or large Rapalas, something big enough to make them bother eating it. Also, big fish are smart and they tend to feed more at night than during the day and hide out in serious hiding places.
Undercut banks, deeper pools, and places with less current will be the spots that have come to own over their time in the river or lake.
How Do I Find Big Rainbows?
The biggest rainbows on the planet are likely to be triploid rainbows that do not spawn so that they can grow very fast. If you can find a fishery that stocks triploid fish and has a rich food source for them, then you can guarantee that you will find a huge fish there.
Otherwise, it is best to stick to places that are renowned for big fish, as in this day and age, with so much fishing going on along with Instagram and Youtube, there are very few secret spots left so chances are a search online will give you what you need.
What Is The World Record Steelhead?
Steelhead grow to much bigger sizes than a wild rainbow and all the world records sit around the 30-35 lb mark which is huge for a wild fish. Most of them were caught in the Skeena drainage system in British Columbia, Canada.
2 thoughts on “The 2023 World Record Rainbow Trout and How To Catch One”
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The whole reason for writing this article is call out an unjustice IMHO to the Arkansas rainbow trout record of 1981. By size & weight the assumed record is incorrect.
Recorded on file is the only correct part of this record.
Folks need to read the criteria for the legal definition of a state record.
The criteria for accepting a world record acknowledgement is absurd @ best & a complete embarrassment to true records never allowed to be considered!
Having seen & lived down the country road from the largest personally known state record rainbow trout will likely never be revealed.
It was not caught with the required steps of the legal & certified official department of ignorance.
When we allow such rules & regulations along with some of the most ridiculous man conceived steps required to even be consider. THE ACTUAL STATE RECORD DEPENDS ALMOST ENTIRELY IN THE FISHERMANS HIMSELF MEETING STATE/LOCAL REQUIREMENTS & NOT THE ACTUAL FISH!
Sadly, many state records are most likely worthless do to the man made stipulations of the actual fisherman & nothing to do with the fish until the prior rules are met.
The really sad part is the state record was acknowledged but the fisherman would not allow the fish to be placed in public for view or would he accept the state record. Instead it remained with the fisherman & this is the reality of how the real record came to be.
Here’s the reality of fishing & records.
The record trout was not caught with a pole or state/local legally acceptable means allowing it to be recorded.
I lived down the county road from the actual fisherman of the record trout & @ his pleasure allowed locals inside his home where above his living room couch on the wall was mounted a 36″ +/- 30lb+ massive rainbow trout that was caught by a local Fairview, Arkansas local while sitting in his boat fishing. It was legally caught in every way that matters (but not a legal fashion), but it was caught & it is the record in all acceptable fisherman comparison. A large fish that was slowly dying from most likely having been caught & escaped earlier or simply was dying from a long life slowly ending. The rainbow was rolling in the white river waters when the fisherman noticed a large fish coming near the boat. He grabbed his net & scooped it out of the water! The fish was dying & would of been mink, otter or bird bait shortly. Thats your state record that can’t be acknowledged because it doesn’t pass all the rules & regulations regarding records. Sadly, until these ridiculous sets of criteria imposed on the fisherman are removed many such records are just very exciting large catches that we all love to see & read. But, they are not all state records! I understand the needs for certain criteria to be in place to help hold the integrity of the printed records we all admire. But this is not the foremost issue! It is easily discouraging the real records from every coming forth due to the strict requirements of the fisherman himself.
Would u like to know that by accident someone fishing for something else with a non legal net? actually caught the record fish or just quietly go home & eat the fish? Stupidity destroys reality!