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Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a euryhaline freshwater fish and sea Family salmonids natively distributed by the North Pacific Ocean.

Description

Resident freshwater rainbow trout adults average between 1 and 5 lb (0.5 and 2.3 kg) in riverine environments, while lake-dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 lb (9 kg). Coloration varies widely between regions and subspecies. 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 (O. m. irideus) and Columbia River redband trout (O. m. gairdneri) 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.

Life cycle

Rainbow trout, including steelhead forms, generally spawn in early to late spring (January to June in the Northern Hemisphere and September to November in the Southern Hemisphere) when water temperatures reach at least 42 to 44 °F (6 to 7 °C). The maximum recorded lifespan for a rainbow trout is 11 years.

 

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