Rainbow Trout

The “rainbow” in their name tells you all you need to know about the colorful beauty of these trout, which can be caught in cold lakes and streams in many corners of the world.
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Where and When?

Rainbow trout are native to the Pacific coast of North America, from Canada to Mexico. Wild-caught and hatchery-raised rainbow trout have been transplanted to at least 45 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Rainbow trout can now be caught in streams all over North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. The anadromous or sea-run form of rainbow trout is called steelhead, and is a highly sought-after gamefish in its own right. Steelhead are found along North America’s northwest Pacific coast, as well as on the coast of Kamchatka. Rainbow trout transplanted to the Great Lakes developed the same migratory spawning behavior and are also called steelhead.

About Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout get their name from their beautiful coloration, which actually varies widely depending on habitat, diet, and age of the fish. Colors can range from brown to olive to blue, with a distinctive a pinkish stripe running the length of their bodies, as well as a silver or white underside. Rainbow trout have small black spots on their backs, fins, and tail. Rainbows average from 12 to 18 inches long and weigh between 2 and 8 pounds. They can get much larger, however; the world record, caught in Canada, weighed 48 pounds.

How to Catch?

Rainbow trout prefer cool, freshwater streams with gravel bottoms, and you’re likely to find them in finning in shady pools and under downed trees and boulders. These fish thrive in water temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but can tolerate temperatures as warm as 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainbow trout feed on aquatic insects most of the year as well as terrestrial bugs like ants and grasshoppers in the summer, and when available they will also eat fish eggs, small minnows, worms, crustaceans, and other aquatic creatures. Fly fishing, spin fishing on ultralight tackle, wading, shore fishing, fishing from a drift boat, kayak, or motorboat, and even ice fishing, are all great ways to catch rainbow trout.