Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

When people talk about trout fishing (particularly the novice), visions of the rainbow are evoked. The rainbow has been described as the “true American trout” because of it’s origins in the Pacific Northwest. This brings argument from scientific types who study such stuff, but most of us don’t care about things like that. Most of us think excitement when we think rainbow. The rainbow has spunk. They don’t stay with the stream bottom like brown trout, or hide in quiet backwaters like the brook. Rainbows are to be found in the open, faster waters, where they tend to feed at the surface more often than other trout. They are open, up front and honest, and for that reason we think more respectfully of them, and they are usually the most fun. While the North American rainbow trout is native to westward flowing Pacific Coast rivers, they have been introduced to many streams worldwide. Rainbows are the most easily cultured and adaptive of all trout and are thus included in most stocking programs. Rainbows had been introduced in forty-one states by 1900. Rainbow Trout Markings and Coloration Stream-living rainbows are easy to identify. Their upper bodies are heavily covered with black spots, a pattern that extends over the tail. Their backs range from light to dark olive, the abdomen is white and there’s a characteristic reddish pink band along the lateral line, a color that usually extends forward over the central portion of the fish’s gill covers. There are no red or yellow spots. As mentioned earlier, rainbows are the most adaptable of all trout and can tolerate a wider...
Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Markings and Coloration Brown trout are the true trout. They are native to Europe, western Asia, and the extreme northeastern edge of Africa and have been introduced to many waters suited to them around the globe. Fishing for sport–including fly-fishing–evolved within the native range of brown trout. The word “trout” itself apparently evolved with specific reference to these fish and was later applied to such fish as rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout simply because of their resemblance to brown trout. Although all brown trout are categorized as a single species, the fish themselves may show wide variation in color and spotting patterns, habitual foods, and behavior. Any angler who fishes a variety of rivers may eventually encounter brown trout that somehow look different from those he’s used to catching and may even encounter two different-looking brown trout in the same stream. Color along the dorsal surface (back) varies from olive-brown through yellowish brown, becoming lighter toward the whitish belly area. There are usually greater amounts of an overall yellow tint along the flanks. Black spots are present on the back and in diminishing numbers down the sides. Bright red spots are found in lesser numbers along the sides. There are few, if any, spots on the tail in contrast with rainbow, the tails of which are heavily spotted. Unlike brook trout, brown trout have no vermiculations, or wavy lines on their backs and have teeth along the full length of the vomerine bone on the roof of their mouths. Brown-trout coloration is much subdued in hatchery fish, but often assume the brighter colors of wild fish after several months...
Brook Trout

Brook Trout

Markings and Coloration The brook trout can be recognized by the wavy lines, or vermiculations, on its dark, olive-green back–the same pattern created when the sun shines through rippled water to cast shadows on the bottom. The result is a camouflage enabling the brook trout to avoid predators from above such as kingfishers and herons. The brook trout also typically has many pale yellow spots and a few small red spots surrounded by blue halos on their sides. They’ve also been described as the only trout with light spots against a dark background, as the brown and rainbow trout have the opposite spotting pattern (dark spots on a paler background). The brook trout’s pectoral, ventral, and anal fins are starkly edged in white, which again is unique among other common trout. The white is the main giveaway. Even when the brook is motionless, the white-edged fins will call your attention to the fish. The highly visible, white-edged fins are a definite disadvantage when it comes to the brook’s predators. Another characteristic is a relatively large head and mouth, and the head may amount to one quarter of the body length on adult fish. During their fall spawning period, the lower flanks of males become brilliant orange and older males may develop a slightly hooked lower jaw. If you are still in doubt after checking all the previous characteristics, feel along the center of the mouth’s roof with your fingertip. The vomerine bone has teeth in a small cluster at its forward end. If you find teeth all along the roof of the mouth, you didn’t catch a “brookie”. Because...