Rainbow Trout oncorhynchus mykiss or salmo gairdnerii

This species of trout underwent a reclassification during the late 1980s. The first name comes from the Greek root of oncos, which translates to "hook" and the rhynchus translates to "nose". The word mykiss is actually the name of trout species found in Siberia.

You can tell the Rainbow Trout from other species in that they do indeed have rainbow coloration. The upper body is a pale olive/brown color while the lower portion of the body is silverfish. On the head, body, dorsal fin, and the area by the tail you will see black spots.

Additionally, running down the mid-line or lateral line is a pink or reddish colored streak with a red blush near the gill cover. The tail is gently forked, the head blunt, and the jaw is short. For the anal fin, you will find generally 10 to 12 rays.

The young fish in this species that are around age two have a well-proportioned body. However, the older fish, especially in the mail Rainbow Trout have lower jaws that are quite prominent. When the Rainbow Trout is in the middle of spawning season, the reddish band will change color to a dark crimson red. A full-grown male can weigh up to three pounds in streams but in rivers, reach around 16 to 18 pounds.

Of all the species of trout, the Rainbow Trout loves to eat. They are also great swimmers, although not fast. The one fascinating thing is that while they do not swim fast, should they be spooked by predators, they can reach amazing speeds for very short distances if the fish is healthy and strong and the water temperature appropriate.

Regardless of the species of trout, their speed is measures by feet per second. This equals their body length but in inches. For instance, a six-inch trout would have the ability to swim six feet per second, an eight-inch trout would swim eight feet per second, and a ten-inch trout would swim ten feet per second, and so on.

Although all trout are delicious, the Rainbow Trout is by far the best. The key to a succulent meal is catching the trout first. This species of trout is very tricky and have many skills to get themselves unhooked. One of these is that they are great at flipping and turning.

The Rainbow Trout has other names, a few which include:

  • Eagle Lake Trout (salmo gairdnerii aquilarum
  • Kamloops Trout (salmo gairdnerii kamloops)
  • Kern River Trout (salmo gairdnerii gilberti)
  • Royal Silver Trout (salmo gairdnerii regalis)
  • Shasta Trout (sahno gairdnerii stonei)

The Rainbow Trout generally lives between four and six years although there are records of them living to eight years of age. Typically, this species will spawn between one and three times a year when they reach about 12 to 14 inches in length.

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