HookedinFishing » Freshwater Fish » Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout Species Breakdown

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss

Also Known As: Coastal rainbow

rainbow trout being held out of water by angler

Rainbow trout are members of the trout and salmon subgroup of the Salmonidae family. Trout are one of the most popular freshwater species to fish for.. They are also one of the best tasting freshwater fish.

How to Identify a Rainbow Trout

You can identify a rainbow trout by their blue-green or olive green coloring with black spots throughout their body. Adults have a broad reddish strip along their lateral line.

Juvenile rainbow trout have dark vertical bars that are typical of most salmonid juveniles.

Rainbow Trout Size

Rainbow trout can grow up to 40 inches long and weigh up to 48lbs. They are more commonly found in the 15-25 inch or 1-5lbs range.

Rainbow Trout Size Chart – Length to Weight Conversion

10″0.5 lb
11″0.68 lb
12″0.8 lb
13″1 lb
14″1.2 lbs
15″1.5 lbs
16″1.8 lbs
17″2 lbs
18″2.5 lbs
19″2.8 lbs
20″3.3 lbs
21″4 lbs
22″4.5 lbs
23″5 lbs
24″5.9 lbs

View World & State Rainbow Trout Records

Where Rainbow Trout Are Found

Rainbow trout are native to the north western United States but can now be found in over 45 countries across the globe.

In rivers and streams rainbow trout like gravel bottom, shallow, well oxygenated water.

In lakes rainbow trout are typically found in deeper water with close access to sufficient food. Lakes need access to rocky streams for the rainbow trout population to be self-sustaining.

Lifespan of a Rainbow Trout

The lifespan of a rainbow trout is typically 6-7 years but they can live up to 11 years old. Rainbow Trout typically take 3 years to grow to 12″ long. From years 3-6 is when they typically grow the quickest.

You can tell the general age of rainbow by referring to the table below.

Rainbow Trout Age Chart

3 Years Old5 – 13 inches
4 Years Old13 – 18 inches
5 Years Old18 – 23 inches
6 Years Old23 – 27 inches
7 Years Old27 – 29 inches
8 Years Old29 – 33 inches
9 Years Old33 – 34 inches
10 Years Old34+ inches

Fishing for Rainbow Trout

Are rainbow trout hard to catch?

Rainbow trout are one of the easiest trout to catch. With that said, wild trout are more difficult to catch than other game fish like bass.

To make catching rainbow trout easier target quicker moving water. This will give them less time to study your flies.

In slow water rainbow trout have more time to look over your fly and be picky.

What size hook do you use for rainbow trout?

The best all around hook size for rainbow trout is a size 12 single barb hook.

What type of bait is for rainbow trout?

My favorite bait when fishing for rainbow trout is Berkley Powerbait.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What size rainbow trout is best to keep?

The best size rainbow trout to keep is 10-12 inches long. This is the best size to eat. Be sure to check your state’s size limit.

What do rainbow trout eat?

Rainbow trout eat insects, larvae, worms, and small fish.

Are rainbow trout endangered?

Rainbow trout are endangered in some areas of the United States due to dams blocking their migration route.

Do rainbow trout have scales?

Rainbow trout have very small thin scales. Their scales are so thin you don’t need to remove them before eating.

Are rainbow trout good eating?

Rainbow trout are delicious They are one of the best tasting freshwater fish. Rainbow trout are lean and have a very mild fish flavor.

Do rainbow trout fish bite humans?

Rainbow trout have teeth and can bite humans. They aren’t aggressive or attack humans but they can cut you if aren’t careful when removing your hook. Bites from trout won’t cause any lasting damage.

Is rainbow trout a salmon?

A rainbow trout is not a salmon. They are both apart of the same Salmonidae family though.

What eats rainbow trout?

Bass, muskie, walleye, and other predator fish all eat rainbow trout. Herons, eagles, osprey, otters, racoon, and bears are also known to eat rainbow trout.