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Alaska Float Trips: Catch Your Rainbow Before Seasons’ End

The acrobatic rainbow trout season is entering its last month soon, October, and there is no better time than now to catch these powerful fighters. As any angler can attest, witnessing a stunning jumper break the surface on any number of Alaskan rivers is a real treat. Try heading over to Kodiak Island, Kenai Peninsula and the Copper River for the largest natural populations of the beautiful fish.

Some interesting information you may already know, but a rainbow can come in at over 30+ pounds, and the record is held by David White; in 1970, he reeled in a 42 pound, 3 ounce monster on Bell Island. If the record is what you have in your sights, you’ll need to work with varying fluorescent colors though. Some populations are keener on one color over another and working with different lures and baits will be needed to land a big fish.

Rainbows prefer colder water, so fishing on the bottom is more effective than the surface, depending on the depth of the stream or river. These vibrant, white bellied fish range from the south-central and southeast Alaska Peninsula, with most populations residing in rivers and streams fed by snowmelt and springs.

Catching rainbow trout is most difficult during salmon runs, and are best tried in spring and then again in fall. These prolific swimmers will travel hundreds of miles upstream to spawn, with some preferring insects in their diet, while older rainbow will dine on eggs and salmon carcasses.  They’re cautious fish too, keeping an eye out for a predator both above and below the surface, so be mindful of your movements if you want to hook a trophy.

Rainbow trout are stocked as far north as Fairbanks, but the larger fish will belong to native populations. Bring back a big one!