Bigger Than A Bowling Ball! The Largest Rainbow Trout Ever Caught In Missouri

What Do Trout Eat - Rainbow Trout Bursting from Surface
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Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: May 8, 2023

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Missouri offers plenty of opportunities for anglers to find large fish, like rainbow trout. There are many lakes and creeks you can visit in hopes of catching these large and beautiful non-native trout. Rainbow trout are shiny and shimmering fish that are also commonly called red band trout. Although the largest rainbow trout ever caught in Missouri is about half the size of the world record, it’s still an impressive catch!

Follow along to learn more about the largest rainbow trout caught in Missouri and more fun facts about these beautiful fish.

The Largest Rainbow Trout Caught In Missouri

In 2004, Jason Harper caught the largest rainbow trout in Missouri, which weighed 18 pounds and 1 ounce. He caught this large fish while on the Roaring River. Although this catch was impressive, others have come close. For instance, Mark Clemishire was fishing on Lake Taneycomo in Taney County when he reeled in a tough 31-inch-long trout. It had a girth of 23 inches. While he fought hard for the catch and was beyond excited, he let the fish go back into the water. Since it wasn’t officially recorded or weighed, he didn’t beat the state record but could have. Some formulas estimate his rainbow trout may have weighed as much as 20.5 pounds.

Rainbow trout

The record rainbow trout in Michigan weighed 18 pounds and 1 ounce. It was caught on the Roaring River in 2004 by Jason Harper.


Where Is The Roaring River Located On A Map?

The Roaring River is in Barry County, which is located in the southwest Ozark Hills, about 30 minutes from Shell Knob. Missouri which is located in the mid-west region of the United States. It is bordered by Nebraska to the northwest, Iowa to the north, Illinois to the east, Kentucky to the southeast, Tennesee and Arkansas to the south, Oklahoma to the southwest, and Kansas to the west. St. Louis is in the eastern portion of the state and lies on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

About Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are such amazing fish! This species is found throughout the world and is constantly stocked in many lakes and fishing ponds in the United States. Anglers travel throughout the nation hoping to catch a large one. Keep reading to learn more about these shimmering and beautiful fish.

Rainbow Trout

Anglers travel from all over to catch large rainbow trout.


Size and Description

Although most rainbow trouts have a uniform appearance, they also vary. The size and coloration of this species depend on their environment. For example, rainbow trout in riverine environments are typically smaller than others and weigh between 1 to 5 pounds. Lake-dwelling rainbow trout, however, can easily reach over 20 pounds. Most of these fish are blue-green or olive green and are spotted. Mature rainbow trout also have a reddish stripe along the lateral line, but the intensity of the color varies. Interestingly, the larger lake-dwelling rainbow trout are more silvery in appearance with a faded red stripe.


So, what do rainbow trout eat? Rainbow trouts aren’t picky and will eat anything they capture while hunting. Most of their diet consists of larval, pupal, and adult forms of aquatic insects. Some of these aquatic insects can include mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies. Still, rainbow trout have been observed consuming fish eggs and land-dwelling insects. When insects like beetles, ants, and crickets fall into the water, rainbow trout snatch them up.


Rainbow trouts have many predators. The more vulnerable fish is juvenile trout since they are smaller and easier to catch. Herons and kingfishers, actively hunt for rainbow trouts. Other than large birds, some mammals like raccoons and river otters also consume rainbow trout. Other larger fish species are also predators and will sometimes steal eggs. Interestingly, rainbow trouts sometimes also eat other rainbow trout’s eggs.

One of the largest rainbow trout predators is the heron.

©Pierre Dalous / Creative Commons – Original


Rainbow trout are native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. They are found all across the United States and are frequently stocked in lakes and ponds. It’s a popular game fish that can be a challenge for anglers. While this fish species is found throughout Missouri, it didn’t get introduced to the state until the late 1800s. This was when several trout fisheries emerged in the state.

The Largest Rainbow Trout Caught In The World

On September 5, 2009, Sean Konrad caught a 48-pound rainbow trout in Lake Diefenbaker. This fish was also 42 inches long with an impressive 32-inch girth. To become the all-tackle world record holder, he used a Shimano Claris rod with an Abu Garcia 104 reel. Interestingly, he beat the previous record, his twin brother. He had held the record for two years. These two twins have had years of practice and likely caught over 300 fish at Lake Diefenbaker. Sean Konrad didn’t think it was 48 pounds, instead, he assumed it only weighed 40 pounds. They put it on ice and weighed the fish on a certified post-office scale the next morning. This massive fish may not be the only one since the twins have stated they’ve lost many large rainbow trout in the lake.

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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