The rainbow trout is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America , west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world. Rainbow trout, also called red band trout , are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.
Average life span in the wild:
4 to 6 years
20 to 30 in (51 to 76 cm)
8 lbs (3.6 kg)
Did you know?
The largest rainbow trout on record weighed 57 lbs (25.8 kg) and was estimated to be 11 years old.
Size relative to a tea cup
This species may be distinguished by the uniform, tiny black spotting on its sides and back plus the rose-colored band extending the body length along either side . The rainbow trout is the only species of trout native to the waters of Yosemite National Park . The rainbow is one of the most adaptable of all trout. In Yosemite, the rainbow may thrive in certain places where species such as the eastern brook trout appear thin and unhealthy
Rainbow trout spawn in the spring from March to June on a rising temperature depending upon the locality and the water temperature . In some of the high mountain waters they have been observed to spawn as late as midsummer. At spawning time, they tend to move upstream and seek the smaller tributaries, or in the case of those inhabiting lakes, inlets are utilized. The eggs hatch in about fifty days.
Rainbow food web
Then rainbow trout spread into the Columbia River drainage between 50,000 and 32,000 years ago. When the glacial lakes of the Pleistocene receded, the subspecies became more and more isolated. Both the California Golden Trout and the Sacramento Red-band Trout suspected to be the most primitive Oncorhyncus mykiss subspecies. The origin of a rainbow trout-like subspecies is near the Gulf of California (Roberts 2001).