What Size Trout Can I Keep?

Trout are a popular game fish among anglers, but before heading out to catch them, it’s important to know the regulations regarding the size of the fish you’re allowed to keep. Different states and regions have different rules and regulations, so it’s essential to know what applies in your area.

What is a Trout?

Trout are freshwater fish that belong to the family Salmonidae, which also includes salmon and char. They are found in various bodies of water such as rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Trout can vary in size depending on the species and habitat they live in.

What Size Trout Can You Keep?

The size limit for trout can vary depending on where you’re fishing. Some states have no minimum size limit for trout you can keep, while others may have restrictions on the length or weight of trout that can be kept.

In general, most states require that trout be at least 7-8 inches long before they can be legally harvested. However, some areas may have a higher minimum size requirement or may only allow certain species of trout to be kept.

It’s important to note that there may also be restrictions on the number of trout you’re allowed to keep in a day or over a certain period. In some cases, there may also be specific regulations regarding catch-and-release practices.

Why Are Size Limits Implemented?

Size limits are put in place for several reasons. The primary purpose is to help maintain healthy fish populations by allowing them time to mature and reproduce before being harvested. This helps ensure that there will be enough fish for future generations of anglers.

Additionally, size limits can help protect larger or more mature fish that play an essential role in maintaining balanced ecosystems within bodies of water.

Tips for Measuring Trout

If you’re planning on keeping any trout you catch, it’s important to properly measure them to ensure they meet the legal size requirements. Here are some tips for measuring trout:

1. Use a ruler or measuring tape: Make sure you have a ruler or measuring tape on hand to accurately measure the fish.

2. Measure from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail: Place the fish on a flat surface and stretch out its tail to measure from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail.

3. Be gentle: Handle the fish carefully and avoid squeezing or harming it in any way while measuring.


In summary, knowing what size trout you can keep is essential for any angler looking to harvest their catch legally. Make sure you’re familiar with your state’s regulations regarding size limits, catch-and-release practices, and daily bag limits before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Remember that size limits are put in place to help maintain healthy fish populations and ensure a sustainable future for fishing enthusiasts everywhere. So always practice responsible fishing practices and follow local regulations to protect our natural resources.

Photo of author

Michael Allen