Biggest Rainbow Trout

Author: , Post Date: August 24, 2017

The biggest rainbow trout I ever caught lives at the Keystone (Colorado) Village Ice Rink, a five-acre lake at 9321 feet above sea level. Here is that wonderful fish, held by Matt Campanella, a skilled fly fishing guide.

David Kotok & Matthew Campanella of Cutthroat Anglers fishing in Keystone, Colorado
In Keystone, Colorado, David Kotok & Matthew Campanella of Cutthroat Anglers display their latest catch, a huge rainbow trout!

Keystone is best known for winter sports like skiing and for its eponymous conference center. The lake freezes over in winter and the ice gets a lot of skating use while trout hibernate below. These trout have no natural enemies and gorge on pellets thrown by summer tourists. That is why they are huge.

This unique fishing experience requires a reservation made directly with Keystone. Their website is, and you can call them at (800) 328-1323. They set up a guided trip with Cutthroat Anglers, a fly-fishing shop and guide service in Silverthorne, Colorado, only a 15-minute ride from Keystone.

To reach Cutthroat Anglers call (970) 262-2878. Their website is To talk with Matthew Campanella of Cutthroat Anglers about a trip to Keystone or a float on the Colorado River, call (303) 514-5352.

The best fishing at Keystone is in the early morning before the resort paddleboaters crowd the lake by about 10 AM.

This large fish took a Chernobyl grasshopper imitation. Most of the dozen caught during the sunny mid-August morning were taken on a pellet imitation fly. The fish are not leader-shy, so 1x tippet is advised given their large size.

BTW, this is all catch and release with barbless hooks. That fish is still in the lake.

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