Rainbow trout

(Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Rainbow trout are one of the most variable fish species in B.C. Here is example of a large-bodied rainbow trout from Kootenay Lake. This population is locally referred to as Gerrard rainbow trout. Compare the body shape of this fish with a steelhead trout (see bottom).  

Unlike Pacific salmon and charr, rainbow trout are spring spawners.

A juvenile rainbow trout.


Rainbow trout that migrate to the ocean are commonly called steelhead trout. There are two forms of steelhead, summer and winter steelhead. Steelhead that return to spawning streams during the summer months with immature gonads are referred to as summer steelhead, whereas steelhead that return during the fall or winter months with fully mature gonads are called winter steelhead. Here is a photograph of a group of summer steelhead trout.

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