Catch of the Day: Rainbow Trout

Posted by nick under Freshwater Game Fish

In the interest of education, I thought it would be great to introduce you a little more intimately with the object of your affection… freshwater game fish.

Let’s begin with the venerable rainbow trout.

rainbow trout photo

Commonly Known As:

Rainbow trout, redsides, redband trout and steelhead (go to the ocean and return to freshwater to spawn).


Scientific Name: Salmo gairdneri.

Description: This trout is native to western North America and takes two distinct forms:

  1. Non-migratory: lives its whole life in streams and river. This is the type usually planted by fish and game departments.
  2. Anadromous: is born in rivers and streams, migrates to the ocean and returns to freshwater to spawn- Steelhead.

The rainbow trout generally have an olive back with a silvery or white belly and sides. The green back of the fish is covered in black spots and sports a distinctive reddish band on the sides from head to tail. Steelhead are more silvery than their freshwater counterparts.


Rainbows are highly sought after game fish and prized for their hard fighting and acrobatic leaps.

Range: Streams and rivers west of the Rocky Mountains from northern Mexico to Alaska. However, stocking programs have introduced rainbows to Canada, and most of the U.S. including some of the colder waters in southern states.

Habitat: Cold, clean water. Though they can survive in marginal conditions.

Size: Non-migratory stream/river: 6″-8″ (average)
non-migratory lake: heavier (up to 50lbs)
steelhead: 8 – 12lbs (up to 35lbs)

Diet: In the wild they eat mostly insects, but will also take small baitfish, crustaceans, worms and roe.

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2 Responses to “Catch of the Day: Rainbow Trout”

  1. John Says:

    Ah, the love and my affection… the Trout….

  2. Says:

    Catch of the Day: Rainbow Trout |

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