Kenai River Rainbow Trout
Where to find them?
The largest population of this beautiful Kenai River Rainbow Trout are attributed to native populations along the Kenai River. The Alaskan Rainbow Trout is most often a freshwater dwelling species however, a relative of the rainbow trout is called a steelhead and return to the ocean after spawning several times. These trout will be found mostly where you find spawning salmon as they like to feed on the eggs of the salmon along with the flesh of the salmon once they die after spawning. The salmon will spawn on gravel bars in the tail out of a hole or the head waters they need gravel to spawn on so when you find the salmon you will find trout. We have found many of the largest trout in areas where the baby salmon like to hang out like under banks and brush and even in some of the deeper holes as the baby salmon do not like the faster water nor do the larger trout they like to resist the faster-moving water and let the food come to them.
The Rainbow Trout is found averaging from 4 to 11 pounds, however, it has been recorded catching Kenai Rainbows up to 42″ in length. Their size and weight depend heavily on their habitat. Fewer trout that are found in their home environment provides more vacant room allowing them to grow larger and increase their weight. Rainbows are a beautiful fish that are characterized by their varied coloration and markings. The back is usually a dull steel or gray color, the sides can look a cheerful pinkish-red, and the underside is normally silver or white. The Rainbow Trout is almost always covered with small, dark spots all along their side to the tail.
As with most Kenai River Trout, hot shots, flesh flies, beads, and imitation egg patterns will do the trick. Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden in the Kenai river are commonly caught by using imitation baits of what they like to feed on! The trout in the Kenai mostly feed on salmon spawn and salmon flesh once they die so where you find salmon spawning you will find trout. These trout will even feed on the baby salmon, sculpins, and even baby trout so imitation flies work great for catching trophy trout.
We will use Fly rods with a strike indicator a split shot and a bead to match what the eggs are looking like at the time of the release from the salmon sometimes that will be a faded bead to resemble an egg being in the water for a few days. We also use spinning gear for those that don’t choose to use a fly rod but most of the clients don’t mind learning how to fly fish. We use methods like roll casting or just lifting the rod high in the air until the strike indicator in lifted out of the water and then flip it upstream. If you take the time to watch our video on fly fishing that we offer you will see some of the methods that we use. When using a spin cast you will be using what they call a slinky that will slide along the bottom and slow the bait down so the larger trout can grab it. Sometimes the bigger trout are slower and like the bait to come to them so this method works great for them we will put a big chunk of rabbit hair above the hook and bead to make it look like a chunk of flesh and they can not resist a nice big chunk of flesh in their face. This method works great for catching some of the bigger trout and not so many little ones because of the size of it. Every day bring different types of fishing depending on the location of the trout and the type of water they are in at the time.
It is fairly common for experts to use light action gear when going after Trout. One important thing to consider is that Rainbow Trout are known as truly talented acrobats when forced to fight so gear should be heavy enough for battle but light enough so they can’t see the line. It is quite common for the fish to create outstanding airborne displays in an attempt to free themselves. In the process of their exaggerated display, they will likely ring a dinner bell for larger trophy fish. If your goal is to keep the trout on the line, be advised to reel quickly and efficiently before the fish’s outstanding flight skills allow it to escape to freedom.