Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
Fish image provided under agreement from Windsor Nature Discovery, LLC. Fish image created by Ron Pittard. Click here if you would like to purchase a print of this fish.
Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus Mykiss
steelhead, rainbow, 'bow, redsides, Kamloops, redband trout, Eagle Lake trout, Kern River trout, Shasta trout, San Gorgonio trout, Nelson trout, Whitney trout, silver trout; Danish: regnbueØrred; Finnish: kirjolohi; French: truite-arc-en-ciel; German: regenbogenforelle; Italian: trota iridea; Japanese: nijimasu; Russian: forel raduzhnaya; Spanish: trucha arco iris; Swedish: regnbåge; Turkish: alabalik türü
Rainbow trout from Lake Michigan have an elongated and slightly compressed body, a squared tail covered with spots, 12 or less rays in the anal fin, and the inside of the mouth is wide. There are generally small spots on the top of the head and back above the lateral line, including the dorsal and adipose fins. Body color is variable, with the back being darker, ranging from steel-blue to green to almost brown; the cheek and sides are silvery, occasionally with a pink to red lateral stripe; and the bottom or belly is silvery white.
Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
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Native to the Pacific coast of North America from northern Mexico north to the Bering Sea and inland to the Rocky Mountains. Since the late 1800’s, they have been introduced across North America. Other locations where populations have been established include New Zealand, Australia, South America, Africa, southern Asia, Japan, and Europe. In the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, rainbow trout are common along the entire shore from Marinette to Kenosha.
The general life cycle of this species requires a stream for spawning and early development, and a sea or large lake for maturation. Spawning occurs in the spring, and the rainbow parr generally spend the next 2 years of their lives in the parent stream, and then migrate to a large body of water. Here, 2 or more years are spent in maturation, followed by migration up the parent stream to spawn.

State Rainbow Trout Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    31 lbs 7 ozs caught by Kyle C. Johnson caught on Lake Michigan on July 10, 1993.
  • Indiana State Record:
    18 lbs 8 ozs caught by Bill Bigger caught on Clear Lake on January 1, 1988.
  • Iowa State Record:
    19 lbs 8 ozs caught by Jack Renner caught on French Creek on July 1, 1984.
  • Michigan State Record:
    26 lbs 8 ozs caught by Mark Johnson caught on Lake Michigan on January 1, 1975.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    16 lbs 6 ozs caught on Knife River on April 27, 1980.
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    7 lbs 10 ozs caught by Mike Heckel caught on Geneva Lake, Walworth County on January 29, 2006.