Fun & Interesting Facts about Rainbow Trout


We are getting ready for the 2016 Fishing Derby at Punderson and thought it would be fun to post some fun facts about Rainbow Trout since that is what is stocked in the lake prior to the derby. We will have more information about the derby coming soon once we get the details in place!

  • Did you know the Latin name for the Rainbow Trout is Oncorhynchus mykiss? Pronounced, “Encore-Rink-Us My-Kiss”
  • A group of Rainbow Trout is called a “Hover
  • They get their name from a more pronounced “reddish” stripe going from their gills to their tail, giving them an overall colorful appearance, hence the name “Rainbow” Trout. Breeding males have a more pronounced stripe, so if you catch one with a very vivid red coloration, it is most likely a boy!
  • Although hatchery introductions have been beneficial to North American waters, where the Rainbow Trout is native, the introduction of the Rainbow Trout in Southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South America have proven to be a detrimental species to existing native wildlife.
  • Some native populations of Rainbow Trout are listed as endangered. This may be confusing to some, but it refers to specific species, or geographical populations that have been threatened.
  • Steelhead are also a type of Rainbow Trout, however they spend their time in estuaries or open ocean (salt water), and only come to spawn in fresh water. Living in salt water, Steelhead have a different coloration.
  • Two breeding Steelhead can produce a Rainbow Trout, and two breeding Rainbow Trout can produce a Steelhead!
  • Rainbow Trout are only native to North America WEST of the Rocky Mountains – This means that all Rainbow Trout found East of the Rocky Mountains have been introduced.
  • Although related to Salmon, Steelhead can breed several times, while Salmon die shortly after spawning.
  • Rainbow Trout can live about 6 years in the wild, although the oldest caught fish was estimated to be around 11 years old!
  • Rainbow Trout typically eat Zooplankton when they are young, and will eat fish eggs, crustaceans, small fish, mollusks and insects as they get older. Mature fish have even been known to eat mice. HOWEVER, hatchery fish are used to eating small pellet like food that sinks…. 😉
  • Whirling disease and the New Zealand Mud Snail (an extremely tiny snail) are both currently threats to the Rainbow Trout in North America. Because the New Zealand Mud Snail is so small, and can currently be found in Lake Erie, it can be spread easily without realizing it – please make sure to clean all equipment before going from water source to water source.

New Zealand Mud Snail, juvenile to adult sizes compare to a dime, read more:Mudsnail2

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