Rainbow Trout

Illustration by Diane Rome Peebles

Rainbow Trout

Identification & Features
The Rainbow is one of the most beautiful fish in the Trout family. Famous for its bright red coloration on the gill covers and the deep pink band that runs down its lateral line giving it the name Rainbow. Their bodies are covered with both small and large black spots and these spots extend to their fins. Rainbow that live primarily in lakes are usually lighter, brighter and more silvery along the traditional pink band. While Rainbows that live in rivers are usually darker overall with deep colors and very dark spots, which allows them to blend in with their natural surroundings.

Rainbow Trout prefer clear, cold streams with a rocky, sandy or gravel bottom but they also thrive in lakes with cold, deep water. The ideal water temperature is 55 F – 60 F but they can survive in a wide range of conditions from the high 30’s to almost 80 F. At the extremes of the temperature range, they feed very little and growth is very slow. Rivers must have shade to keep the water cool and to produce sufficient insect life to sustain a healthy trout population.

Rainbow spawn during the spring in small streams as water temperatures reach 50 F – 60 F. The female will dig a spawning bed or redd in the gravel with her tail, then lay between 800 and 1,000 eggs. The males will lie close to the female and fertilize the eggs as they are released. The eggs will mature and hatch about 4 – 7 weeks later. Trout do not care for their young after they hatch.

Rainbow Trout have a very wide range of food sources available depending on where they live. High mountain streams with very cold water have limited insect populations and Trout grow very slowly. In rivers and lakes with more temperate conditions, there are plenty of baitfish, crustaceans and a wide variety of insects both on top of and below the surface of the water. In these conditions, Trout grow quickly and to some very large sizes. Another favorite meal for trout is eggs, especially for those Trout that lie in river systems that have an annual Salmon migration and spawning ground.
While some areas just naturally produce large fish, the average Rainbow Trout will range from 1 to 2 pounds and be in the 12” to 17” range.

Angling Tips
One of the reasons Rainbow Trout are so popular is because there are so many ways to fish for them. Just about everywhere you go you will find the local expert who has a proven method. Fly fishermen are especially drawn to Rainbow Trout because they will aggressively take a perfectly presented dry fly when they have successfully matched the hatch. Wet flies and nymphs are equally effective and can be fished all year long even in the coldest conditions. For the angler who enjoys spinning gear, there are a variety of live and artificial baits from nightcrawlers to Eagle Claw  Bait; all are consistent performers.

Recommended Products

Snelled Hooks: 016, 051, 073, 073GE, 073Q, 139, 139GE, 139Q, 140, 179Q, 442, 672SB, 673, 673GE
Rigs & Spinners: 012, 014, 129, 129N, 4284, 06040
Kit’s & Assortments: 084-KIT, 084R-KIT, 613, TK-NEECO, TK-FRESH
Hook Styles: 024, 038, 080, 084, 084R, 085, 089, 165, 181, 186, 186R, 189, 226, 374, 374SB, 375, 376, 377, 570, 575,
Rods: Featherlight, Powerlight, Trailmaster, Brave Eagle, Water Eagle, Pack-It
Reels: Gunnison, Eagle Claw, Brave Eagle, Black Eagle

Snelled Hooks: L139, L139BPFC, L139BPXL, L673FC, L704, L739,
Hook Styles: L1, L2, L038, L038R, L181, L702, L934

Eagle Claw Clear Blue

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