Rainbow Trout

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  • Rainbow Trout: (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

    Original range of the rainbow trout was from Northern Mexico to the Kuskokwim River, Alaska. Some stocks existed in the Great Basin and in British Columbia, but none was native to any part of the Colorado River. Introduced to Arizona in 1898. Olive to bluish on the back, sides dusky green to blue to silver usually with an iridescent, pink to reddish lateral stripe. Many small black spots irregularly scattered on back, sides, adipose and dorsal fin. Distinct radiating rows of black spots on tail fin. Generally, no spots on pectoral, pelvic and anal fins. Length: 8 to 32 inches. Weight: 6 ounces to over 10 pounds. May live up to 11 years.

    Location and Habitat
    They are stocked from state hatcheries into most lakes and streams where water temperatures do not exceed 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Most stocked rainbows are from 9-11 inches with an occasional 3-5 pounder.


    Spawn in early spring, most always in streams. “Redds” are dug by the females in the gravel. After fertilization the female fans the gravel and buries the eggs. This process is repeated for several days until the female is spent. Hatching time depends upon water temperature. Fish reach maturity between 2-3 years.

    They feed on plankton, aquatic and terrestrial insects and aquatic invertebrates. Trout vary their feeding based on the availability of food such as hatching insects on the surface, emerging midges rising through the water column, or worms and bugs along the bottom.

    Effective baits are worms, salmon eggs, powerbait, corn, cheese, marshmallows, artificial lures and flies. The number one key to successful trout fishing, is to use light line (2 to 6 pound) and small hooks (10-14 sizes), and small sinkers.

    Table Quality
    Depending on the fishes diet, the meat can be white to orange-red in color. The meat is firm, flaky and is considered excellent eating

    Information from The Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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