room Kenai River Fishing Lodge in rural Soldotna, AK.
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Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are cold water fish that have long been associated with cold-water streams and lakes in Alaska. Many anglers have placed rainbow trout among the top five sport fishes in North America.  They are considered by many to be the most important game fish west of the Rocky Mountains.

If you catch a fish that has swallowed the hook, it is best to cut the line rather than trying to get the hook out of the fish. If the gills begin to bleed, the fish will die. Also, don’t keep the fish out of the water very long. When you put the fish back into the water, it is important to revive the fish by running it back and forth in the water forcing the water into the mouth of the fish and through the gills. If you are not sure how to handle or revive the fish, please ask for help.

Trout habitat over the past few years has been declining due to streambank erosion, upland soil erosion, loss of riverside vegetation, and pollution from development along the riverbanks. The Kenai River, which is now protected from bank degradation and pollution, offers a unique opportunity to experience the thrill of catching a beautiful rainbow trout.

Rainbow trout get their name from the beautiful colors on their skin. They have a pinkish stripe/band running the length of their bodies and small black spots on their backs, fins, and tail. Average mature fish are around 16 inches long and weigh between 2 and 8 pounds. These fish are generally fished from a drift boat or while standing in the stream.

When hooked, they will dance across the surface of the water. They will jump time and again, trying to get rid of the hook. Rainbows will strike small lures or fly’s as well as fish eggs. They are a favorite for fly fishermen. Rainbows are generally a catch and release fishery. Alaska regulations do allow you to keep one a year under 16” in length.  We encourage our guests to release all rainbows.

Sea run Rainbows, known as Steelhead, can be caught more easily in streams south of the Kenai. The Kasilof River and the Anchor River are perhaps the best Steelhead rivers on the Kenai Peninsula.

Nine different populations of steelhead (sea-run rainbow trout) have been added to the federal endangered species list.

Another fish often confused with the Rainbow Trout is the Dolly Varden (Arctic Char). These fish closely resemble the Rainbow Trout. They have colorful spots on their bodies and white on the edge of their fins. The same rules apply to Dolly Varden that apply to Rainbow Trout.