If you want to find out more about rainbow trout, or if you want to learn the behavior of the fish in general, then this is the guide for you. Take a look below to find out everything you need to know about rainbow trout.
What is a Rainbow Trout?
The rainbow trout has been introduced for either food or sport in around 45 countries. The rainbow trout is also present in every continent, apart from Antarctica. Rainbow trout is a stunning fish, with patterns and colorings that are generally influenced by their age, spawning conditions and habitat. They are streamlined and torpedo-shaped, with colorings that range from green to yellow. They also have pink streaks running down their sides, with a white underbelly. The rainbow trout is a member of the salmon family and has the ability to grow quite large. Rainbow trout can grow as large as four feet, and they can weigh over 40 pounds.
Rainbow trout tend to prefer streams, clear rivers and cool waters. They often leave their freshwater home and venture out to sea. These tend to be migrating adults, who are referred to as steelheads. When an adult migrates, they develop silvery markings and will often spend years in the ocean. When the time comes for them to spawn, they return to their freshwater home. As for feeding, rainbow trout tend to survive on crustaceans, small fish and insects. The population is quite strong worldwide and they do not have any kind of protection or special status. They are considered to be a pest in certain areas, where they have been purposely introduced.
Where to Fish for Rainbow Trout
Rainbow trout are found all over the world. The main types of trout include the golden trout and the redband Trout. They have populations that stretch across the Midwest US and the Pacific States. Redband trout can be found in the Cascade Mountains. Rainbow trout are prevalent amongst anglers and they are included as being one of the top fish for sport in the US. Rainbow trout often like freshwater streams with a graveled bottom. They thrive in abundant cover, including rocks and trees. They also prefer water temperature that ranges between 55- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit but they can tolerate temperatures that range from 32 to 70 degrees. If the temperature exceeds 65 degrees, then they can become stressed, and if it exceeds 75 degrees then this can be lethal. Rainbow trout tend to prefer areas that are deeply shaded and they are somewhat opportunistic feeders. They have a very broad diet but prefer waters that are rife with vegetation. Rainbow trout eat everything from terrestrial insects to fish eggs, aquatic insects and minnows. They also eat crustaceans and worms.
Rainbow trout eat a lot of prey in general, but they can be picky eaters depending on the time of day, or season. Anglers who want to fish for trout will often find themselves trying various types of flies, lures or even baits so that they can find out what is going to make them bite that day. Prime depths are around 4-8 feet, unless there isn’t a flat. Trout do feed deeper, but this usually occurs at the lip of a significant drop. Trout are easily spooked, so anglers will have to move carefully when wading, on a boat or onshore.
Trout will often feed throughout the day, but late afternoons and early mornings are the best option if you want to really get good results. They are most active when the sunlight is weakest. This is especially true for aggressive brown trout. Rainbow trout also love to feed in the rain, as rain triggers trout activity. The main reason for this is because insects often get washed away into the water.
Rainbow Trout Fun Facts
Did you know that rainbow trout can be found in over 45 countries? The main reason for this is because they are incredibly easy to raise in fish farms. They are also very adaptable in many environments.
Rainbow trout are also known for laying thousands of eggs at any one time. A female trout will usually find a bed of very fine gravel in an area with little water movement. They will dig a redd in the gravel bed and the female trout can lay up to 3,000 eggs for every kg that the female weighs.
In 2014, rainbow trout were listed as being one of the top 100 most invasive species in the world.
Another fun fact is that rainbow trout always return to their place of birth. They will go back to their birthplace to lay eggs. This is a simple process, as trout do not tend to venture too far from home. For steelhead trout, this can be quite a journey.
Polluted water is a no-go for rainbow trout. Rainbow trout can live in nearly every type of water, but they cannot live in water that is polluted. Sometimes trout are used in water purification facilities so that the pollution levels can be tested.
The biggest rainbow trout to ever be caught weighed in at a whopping 48lbs, and it was caught in Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan. This trout had escaped from a fish farm, where it was genetically modified to increase the overall size and weight.
Top Rainbow Trout Fishing Lures & Tips
The one thing that you have to know about trout is that they have very sensitive eyes. Their eyes are far more sensitive to the red spectrum when compared to humans. Green is the hardest for them to see, and blue is the easiest. Rod cells are susceptible in very low-light conditions, giving trout excellent eyesight when it comes to navigating waters at night. It’s a good idea to use lures that match the trout’s forage, but this does depend on the time of year. The best lure colors can be gold, white, green, brown, silver, black, orange, pink, red and yellow. This, of course, depends on the local food sources which are prominent.
Rainbow trout are also known for attacking live bait, including bugs, small fish and nightcrawlers. Popular insects include crickets, beetles and of course, grasshoppers. Rainbow trout will eat a lot of different lures, including plugs, jigs, spoons and spinners. It’s a good idea to make sure that the lure is around 1-3” in size. It’s best to take a variety of lures with you. The main reason for this is because the trout will usually change their feeding preferences as the day goes on. What worked a day ago, might not work today. It can also change by the hour, so variety really is key when you want to try and fish for rainbow trout.
Can you Eat Rainbow Trout?
To say that rainbow trout is good for you, would be an understatement. The health benefits that come with eating rainbow trout are phenomenal. It’s labelled as being one of the best choices of fish out there, as it is able to provide you with a lot of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids too. The fish also has a very low level of mercury. Focusing on the texture, trout is very flaky and it doesn’t have a strong fishy taste. When cooked, you can expect a firm texture that is flavorful in every bite. The fish can have a nutty taste, but this will often depend on where you have fished it. The flesh of the fish can be orange, white or even pink. When it comes to rainbow trout, you should know that smaller fish often have the best taste. When the fish get bigger, the flakiness isn’t as pleasant, and the flavor isn’t as prominent.
As for cooking, you can certainly eat rainbow trout with the skin on. Before you cook the fish, you will need to remove the gills, the guts and of course, the bloodline. Rainbow trout should never be skinned prior to cooking. The main reason for this is because the skin will give you a huge amount of flavor. The skin is also a very rich form of Omega-3. If you want to eat the skin on your fish, then make sure that you de-scale it prior to cooking. The skin will also help you to preserve the overall structure of the flesh during the process. This can ease the general experience of cooking your fish by using the oven, the grill or a pan.
Some fish have very high levels of mercury, and it may not be a good idea for you to consume fish every day. That being said, rainbow trout has a very low level of mercury and this means that you can eat it quite often without having to worry.
All in all, rainbow trout is a fantastic fish and it’s very rewarding if you manage to catch one. If you use a selection of lures and if you try and target the fish during its prime feeding hours, then you shouldn’t have a problem in making sure that you come out with a great catch.