Oncorhynchus Mykiss



River, Lake

1 - 8 pounds

16" - 34"

Rainbow Trout Game Fish Quality Very Good
Rainbow Trout Meal Quality Excellent
Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing Quality Excellent

Rainbow Trout 

Rainbow Trout 
Also Known As: Coast Range Trout, Hardhead, Kamloops, Redband, Salmon Trout, Steelhead

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss) 


Rainbow trout is a popular game fish known for its attractive color and ability to swim upstream. It belongs to the Salmonidae family. The upper body color ranges from bluish-green to olive green. They are silver to white in color near the belly. A horizontal pink stripe is present on each side of the body. The body is covered with black spots and extend to dorsal fins, tail, and anal fins. The appearance of a rainbow trout can depend on habitat, gender, age, and maturity. 

Interesting Facts 

  • Rainbow trout starts spawning at age of 3 or 4 years.
  • They have a life span of 4-6 years but can live up to 11 years as well.
  • As this species can only live in clean water, they are very good indicators of pollution.
  • A water temperature of 55°F to 64°F is preferred by the rainbow trout, but they can also survive up to 70 °F.


Habitat, Distribution and HeatMap 

Rainbow Trout United States Fishing Heatmap

Rainbow Trout is native of the United States including the Pacific coast from Mexico to Alaska, northeastern and central United States along with the eastern coast of Asia. 

Rainbow trout can be found in freshwater bodies such as rivers and streams. They prefer a place with an abundance of natural covers such as water vegetation, weeds, and gravelly shoreline. Rainbow trout can be found in streams where the currents are strong and water flow is fast but also do well in cool and deep water. 

Rainbow Trout Spawning 

The spawning season starts in late winter or early spring and can go through early summer as well. During this time, the male Rainbow trout finds a shallow place with gravels or a clear water inlet/outlet. The female lays eggs there. Depending on the water temperature, hatching takes a few weeks to 4 months. After hatching, they keep themselves in hiding until they reach 2 to 3 years and then go into deep waters. 


Other names include steelhead, red-sides, River trout, and silver trout. Rainbow Trout are predators and mostly feed on insects, small fish, and crustaceans. They also eat eggs, other rainbow trout, and even feast on leftover carcasses. 

Size and Weight 

A Rainbow trout can vary in length from 8 inches to 24 inches. The largest Rainbow trout was fished in Canada in 2009 and weighed 48 pounds. The average weight of the species is from 2 to 8 pounds. 

Fishing Techniques - How to Catch a Rainbow Trout

They can be found near gravelly shorelines in the river, or in a downstream flow. In summer, they go to cooler depths. It is recommended to fish rainbow trout during their feeding time, which can be at dusk or late evening. Best fishing techniques include: 

  • Nymphing fly fishing
  • Dry fly fishing for rising fish
  • Emergers & Buggers fly fishing
  • Keeping bait off the bottom
  • Retrieving a bait
  • Hanging lure below a bobber
  • Drifting an artificial lure

Rainbow Trout Baits and Lures 

Common baits and lures for rainbow trout are: 

  • Spoons
  • Spinners
  • Plugs
  • Worms
  • Flies
  • Roe
  • Egg sac

The Trout Family 

Trout are members of the family Salmonidae, order Salmoniformes. The native trout family is closely related to salmon. A top fly fishing family of fish that are both tremendous game fish and tasty eating fish. Found in small streams, large rivers, and any trout stream with the right water temperature, aquatic insects, and clean water. The trout species is usually restricted to freshwater, though a few types migrate to the sea between spawnings. Members of the trout species include Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Steelhead Trout, Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Apache Trout


Other Images of Rainbow Trout