The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is an anadromous form of the coastal rainbow trout or redband trout that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead.
Adult freshwater stream rainbow trout average between 1 and 5 lb (0.5 and 2.3 kg), while lake-dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 lb (9.1 kg). Wild-caught and hatchery-reared forms of this species have been transplanted and introduced for food or sport in at least 45 countries and every continent except Antarctica. Introductions in locations outside their native range in the United States , Southern Europe, Australia and South America have negatively impacted native fish species. Introduced populations may impact native species by preying on them, out-competing them, transmitting contagious diseases or hybridizing with closely related species and subspecies, thus reducing genetic purity. Other introductions into waters previously devoid of any fish species or with severely depleted stocks of native fish have created world-class sport fisheries such as the Great Lakes and Wyoming's Firehole River.
A number of local populations of specific subspecies, or in the case of steelhead, distinct population segments, are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The steelhead is the official state fish of Washington.
Coloration varies widely between regions and subspecies of Rainbow trout. Adult freshwater forms are generally blue-green or olive green with heavy black spotting over the length of the body. Adult fish have a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most pronounced in breeding males. The caudal fin is squarish and only mildly forked. Lake-dwelling and anadromous forms are usually more silvery in color with the reddish stripe almost completely gone. Juvenile rainbow trout display parr marks (dark vertical bars) typical of most salmonid juveniles. In some redband and golden trout forms parr marks are typically retained into adulthood. Some coastal rainbow trout and Columbia River redband trout populations and cutbow hybrids may also display reddish or pink throat markings similar to cutthroat trout. In many jurisdictions, hatchery-bred trout can be distinguished from native trout via fin clips, typically placed on the adipose fin.
Rainbow trout and steelhead are a highly regarded game fish. Rainbow trout are a popular target for fly fishers, and number of angling methods are common. The use of lures presented via spinning, casting or trolling techniques is a common method for anglers. Rainbow trout can also be caught on various live and dead natural baits. Many anglers consider the rainbow trout the hardest-fighting trout species, as this fish is known for leaping when hooked and putting up a powerful struggle. It is considered one of the top-five sport fish in North America and the most important game fish west of the Rocky Mountains.
You can use the following bait for Rainbow trout:
Synthetic Trout Bait - Synthetic trout baits would include any manifestation of manufactured trout bait such as Powerbait. As you can probably imagine, this type of bait is most effective when used for trout that have been "stocked". Most trout fishermen like to use this type of bait while "bottom fishing" with a basic still fishing rig.
Artificial Flies - If you have any knowledge at all of these beautiful fish you are undoubtedly aware of the fact that they love to eat insects and thus artificial flies are an excellent bait choice. There are two ways to fish with artificial flies. The first is by "fly fishing", which is the most well known way to fish with artificial flies and the second is by using something called a "fly fishing bubble", which is a way for traditional spin fishermen to fish with artificial flies.
In-line Spinners - In-line spinners, such as rooster tails or panther martins, mimic small bait fish very well, and the vibration and flash that in-line spinners emit are difficult for hungry trout to resist. In-line spinners are an excellent bait choice for both stocked and native rainbow trout, and tend to be most effective when fished in the flowing waters of a small river or stream.
The natural habitat of the rainbow trout is the cool waters of the Northern Hemisphere, but the trout have been introduced throughout the world. Rainbow trout are native to the Pacific Coast of Northern America from Alaska to Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, and the eastern coast of Asia. The rainbow trout now is stocked all over the United States, except in some of the southern most states, and in all the other continents.
United States of America
The rainbow trout is an introduced exotic species. It is native to the West Coast and some of the streams west of the Rocky Mountains. Rainbow trout have been introduced into many of Minnesota's streams and lakes, especially in the northern half of the state. A migratory strain that normally lives in the Pacific Ocean was introduced long ago into Lake Superior and it has become naturalized. They are known as Steelheads, they begin and end their lives in streams and live in Lake Superior during their major growth period.
Rainbow Trout are an introduced species to Australia originating in North America, especially in the US. They are found in lakes, streams and rivers of the cooler temperate regions of Australia from NSW., VIC., TAS. and SA. Although self sustaining populations exists in many waters fisheries departments continue to stock waters ensuring a fishery.