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Bright Rainbow Trout

September 14, 2021

Bright Rainbow Trout

The tasty and hard-fighting game fish rainbow trout is a native cold-water species. Rainbow trout or steelhead are the ray-finned species from the salmon family.  

Scientific and Common Names:

Oncorhynchus mykiss  is the scientific name of rainbow trout. Rainbow trout is also commonly called red band trout and steelhead trout. 



The rainbow trout gets its name due to its bright and beautiful colors. The color varies widely from species, region, and age and other factors. The color is mostly blue-green or olive green with black spots on the body, with reddish-pink streaks along the sides. 

Size and Weight:

As trout fish belong to the salmon family, they can grow quite long and have an average size of about 20 to 30 inches long.

The size may vary as they inhabit lakes and streams. For example, the stream trout fish may weigh up to 0.5 and 2.3 kg, while the lake trout fish may weigh 9 kg.

Fins and Gills:

The lateral line runs from gills to tail. The caudal fin is quadratic and forked. 

Habitat and Range:

The rainbow trout is common in North America and present in tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America.

Rainbow trout mostly use aquatic vegetation, wood, boulders as their protective covers. Steelhead trout spend most of their time in the open ocean and return to freshwater to spawn. They are now present in every state except Antarctica. 


Rainbow trout eat almost everything they capture. They are predators. The diet is rich in tryptophan, and they mostly feed on,

  • Insects
  • Fish eggs
  • Small fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Mollusks
  • Mice
  • Zooplankton 
  • Arthropods 
  • Stoneflies
  • Mayflies
  • Decomposing flesh
  • Shrimp
  • Hatchling snakes
  • Squid
  • Amphipods

Life Cycle:

Late spring is the spawning season. The trout fish mostly spawn when the water temperature is about 42 to 44 °F. First, females dig out a depression called a redd to lay the eggs that the males fertilize. After that, steelhead trout migrate back upstream to spawn several times.

The life span is about 6 to 11 years. 



The most targeted fish are the fly fishing anglers. Some anglers consider them as difficult to catch as they show powerful struggle when hooked. 

Water Purification:

The presence of rainbow trout indicates the water quality during water filtration inquiries. 


Rainbow trout is the "Best Choice" fish for human consumption and an important source of Vitamin B. The reddish-orange flesh is rich in astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant.

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