How Big Does a Rainbow Trout Have to Be to Keep in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, there are specific regulations in place regarding the size of rainbow trout that can be kept by anglers. These regulations aim to maintain healthy fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing practices. If you’re planning to keep a rainbow trout in Arkansas, it’s important to understand the minimum size requirements.

Minimum Size Requirements

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, a rainbow trout must measure at least 14 inches in length to be legally kept. This measurement is taken from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail when the fish is laid flat.

The purpose behind this minimum size requirement is to protect younger trout and allow them to grow and reproduce before being harvested. By allowing smaller trout to reach maturity, it helps maintain a healthy population and ensures sustainable fishing opportunities for future generations.

Why Size Matters

Size matters when it comes to keeping rainbow trout because it directly impacts their ability to reproduce. Trout typically reach sexual maturity between 2 and 3 years of age, depending on various factors such as water temperature, food availability, and genetics.

By allowing smaller trout to grow larger before harvesting, we give them a chance to reach sexual maturity and spawn successfully. This leads to a healthier population with more young trout entering the ecosystem.

Fishing Regulations in Arkansas

In addition to minimum size requirements, there are other fishing regulations that anglers must adhere to when Targeting rainbow trout in Arkansas:

  • Daily Limit: Anglers are allowed to keep up to five rainbow trout per day.
  • Tackle Restrictions: Regulations regarding tackle type and usage may vary depending on the specific fishing location. It’s important to check the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website or consult the local regulations for detailed information.
  • Fishing License: Anglers must possess a valid Arkansas fishing license to fish for rainbow trout.


When it comes to keeping rainbow trout in Arkansas, it’s crucial to abide by the minimum size requirements set by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. By allowing smaller trout to grow and reproduce, we can ensure a sustainable fishery for future generations. Remember to always check the current regulations before heading out on your fishing adventure to stay compliant with the rules.

Fishing is not only a recreational activity but also an opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate its wonders. By following the regulations, we contribute to preserving our natural resources and maintaining healthy fish populations.

Photo of author

Michael Allen