Giant Rainbow Trout Caught on the Feather River was Likely the Largest Ever Caught in California

The likely largest rainbow trout caught in California was released instead of officially weighed. Photo: Josh Giordano

A monster rainbow trout was caught on the Thermalito Diversion Pool recently, just below the Oroville Dam on the Feather River. The fish would have likely shattered the California record for largest rainbow trout caught in the state, but the fisherman instead chose to release it back into the water.

Josh Giordano had a violent bite on his swimbait and began what ended up being an hour and 10 minute fight to land the fish.

“When I hooked this fish I knew immediately how giant it was when it peeled off 150 yards of line in about 20 seconds,” said Giordano to “I have never seen the power of a fish like it. The fish continued to jump, tail walk and do things I’ve never seen fish do on the surface.”

Once the long battle was over and the fish was at his hands, Giordano knew it was special. The giant fish measured in at 41 inches in length and 27 inches in girth. Its estimated weight of 38.2 pounds would have shattered the state record for rainbow trout. Instead of taking it back to get an official weight from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Giordano released it back into the water.

“I’m not after records in a book,” Giordano said. “I do it for the pure passion I have for catching these magnificent fish. I do always look for a record for my personal best, as it challenges me to become a better angler.”

The current state record is a 27-pound rainbow caught by Frank Palmer in Lake Natoma in 2005, which measured in at 37.5 inches long and 26 inches in girth.

Josh Giordano with a 25.5-pound rainbow trout caught in the Thermolito Diversion Pool in 2020

Giordano has been known to catch giant trout in the Thermolito Diversion Pool. He almost landed the state record in 2020 when he landed a 25.5-pound rainbow. Later in 2020, he scored a 28.9-pound rainbow that he chose not to submit for state record.

His recent monster rainbow was caught using a 10-foot, 6-inch Okuma rod with a Pflueger President spinning reel, spooled with 20 PowerPro Braid and topped by a 15-pound XT leader Sunline leader.

Active NorCal

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  1. I love that it’s close to home! Explore your local waters(There’s Toads close to home) and stop chasing fish far away. Fishing does not stop when it get cold either! Please catch and release…

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