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Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss

ON EXHIBIT:  Cove Forest in River Journey

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on range, habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins. The rainbow trout is a member of the family of fishes that also includes salmon, char, and grayling. They can live in the wild up to 12 years, but average 4-6 years. Rainbow trout are raised in aquaculture in the U.S., making this fish a local sustainable seafood choice for Tennessee.

Rainbow trout are not endangered and have been widely stocked outside of their native range to establish sport fisheries.

Serve & Protect

About This Animal

SIZE: Adults average 20 – 24 inches long

RANGE: Rainbow trout are native to North America west of the Rockies from Alaska into northwestern Mexico. Introductions have extended the range to include Tennessee and eastern mountains, Great Lakes region, south central Canada and portions of the Great Plains east of the Rockies, and southwestern Mexico.

HABITAT: Rainbow trout prefer cool, clear streams and lakes, but can survive in most lakes or ponds as long as there is cool, oxygenated water in the depths.

DIET:  Their diet consists mainly of immature and adult insects, plankton, crustaceans, fish eggs, and small fishes. Rainbows consume far fewer fish than do brown trout.