Rainbow Trout

Species Information

Scientific Name:Oncorhynchus mykiss
Environment:Lake, River, Stream
Ideal Temp:55-70°F (13-21°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Lure Type:Crankbaits, Flies, Spinnerbaits, Spoons
World Record:21.77 kg (48 lb 0 oz) Lake Diefenbaker, Canada
Other Names:rainbow trout, stealhead, steelhead, kamloops, redband trout, Eagle Lake trout, Kern River trout, Shasta trout, San Gorgonio trout, Nelson trout, Whitney trout

The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea-run rainbow trout (anadromous) usually returning to freshwater to spawn after two to three years at sea; rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species. The fish are often called salmon trout. Several other fish in the salmonid family are called trout; some are anadromous like salmon, whereas others are resident in freshwater only.

The species has been introduced for food or sport to at least 45 countries, and every continent except Antarctica. In some locations, such as Southern Europe, Australia and South America, they have negatively impacted upland native fish species, either by eating them, outcompeting them, transmitting contagious diseases, (such as whirling disease transmitted by Tubifex) or hybridization with closely related species and subspecies that are native to western North America.

Like salmon, steelheads are anadromous: they return to their original hatching ground to spawn. Similar to Atlantic salmon, but unlike their Pacific Oncorhynchus salmonid kin, steelheads are iteroparous (able to spawn several times, each time separated by months) and make several spawning trips between fresh and salt water. The steelhead smolts (immature or young fish) remain in the river for about a year before heading to sea, whereas salmon typically return to the seas as smolts. Different steelhead populations migrate upriver at different times of the year. "Summer-run steelheads" migrate between May and October, before their reproductive organs are fully mature. They mature in freshwater before spawning in the spring. Most Columbia River steelheads are "summer-run". "Winter-run steelheads" mature fully in the ocean before migrating, between November and April, and spawn shortly after returning. The maximum recorded life-span for a rainbow trout is 11 years.

Rainbow trout are predators with a varied diet, and will eat nearly anything they can grab. Their image as selective eaters is only a legend. Rainbows are not quite as piscivorous or aggressive as brown trout or lake trout (char). Young rainbows survive on insects, fish eggs, and smaller fish (up to 1/3 of their length), along with crayfish and other crustaceans. As they grow, though, the proportion of fish increases in most all populations. Some lake-dwelling lines may become planktonic feeders. While in flowing waters populated with salmonids, trout eat varied fish eggs, including salmon and cutthroat trout, as well as the eggs of other rainbow trout, alevin, fry, smolt and even leftover carcasses.

Rainbow trout and steelhead are both highly desired food and sportfish. A number of angling methods are common. Rainbow trout are a popular target for fly fishers. Spinners, spoons, and small crankbaits can also be used productively, either casting or trolling. Rainbow trout can also be caught on live bait; nightcrawlers, trout worms, and minnows are popular and effective choices. The IGFA recognizes the world record for rainbow trout was caught on Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker by Sean Konrad on September 5, 2009. The fish weighed 48 lb, 0 oz (21.77 kg). Many anglers consider the Rainbow trout the hardest fighting trout species, as this fish is known for leaping when hooked and putting a powerful fight.

Latest Rainbow Trout Fishing Reports and Spots

Why is Muskegon River so popular among fishers? - 8/10/2022 6:13:18 AM

Muskegon River situated towards the western peninsular side of State Michigan is famous among anglers. There cannot be another river in the are (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 29 July 2022 🎣 - 7/28/2022 11:46:51 PM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 29/07/22 Angus Line took this epic pic from last year's Tr (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 22 July 2022 🎣 - 7/22/2022 3:26:48 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 22/07/22 Han Yeoh @hanyeoh13 always produces the goods whe (View)

Trout Growth and Movement On DrY Run - 7/22/2022 9:26:00 AM

Earlier this week the AGFC Trout Management Program conducted a seasonal tagging event on Dry Run Creek. The purpose of this project is to evalu (View)

See what's biting across WA in Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 15 July 2022 🎣 - 7/14/2022 11:53:48 PM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 15/07/22 Queenfish underwater - Marco Fraschetti Our contr (View)

North Georgia Summer Trout Fishing Report - 7/11/2022 9:05:32 AM

Summer seems to be here to stay. Time to escape the heat and head for the headwaters and small streams of North Georgia. The dry fly bite has (View)

February Update - 2/14/2020 3:01:45 PM

For us at Alaska Drift Away Fishing we would like to recognize one of our favorite valentines (after our wives) Kenai Rainbow Trout. It’s true (View)

June Fishing Report - 7/8/2020 8:03:09 PM

June on the Kasilof and Kenai did not disappoint!  Great weather and solid fishing kept anglers stoke high. The Kasilof River sees the peak of (View)

July Fishing Report - 8/4/2020 10:34:31 PM

Despite the current state of our world with Covid the Kenai River red salmon and rainbow trout seemed to carry on in a very normal and historic (View)

Kenai River Fishing Report 6/24/22 - 6/24/2022 1:49:05 PM

http://jimruskfishingalaska.com Hi everyone well it is all most July here in Alaska and fishing is the mission. So as you probably know the fir (View)