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Everything You Need to Know About Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout in Colorado

One fish you may catch is Colorado waters is the beautiful rainbow trout… so what’s their story?

Fun Facts

  • Rainbow trout are one of Colorado’s most commonly found fish in any of our lakes, rivers, or streams.
  • They are native to waters west of the Rocky Mountains but have been introduced to waters in every continent due to their popularity in sport fishing.
  • Rainbow trout weigh about 4-11 pounds on average but can grow into real monsters.
  • The largest Rainbow trout ever caught weighed in at a whopping 48 pounds
  • They are predators. They typically eat other fish, insects, and crustaceans.
  • Rainbow’s varied diet has allowed them to thrive in a variety of ecosystems and habitats, henceforth their worldwide proliferation.
  • While Rainbows prefer 50-60-degree water and freshwater, they can adapt to saltwater and a slightly wider ranger of temperatures, although this does affect their spawning numbers.
  • Females spawn at the age of about 3 or 4 and may spawn anywhere between 200-8,000 eggs.
  • Colorado’s cooler water temperatures allow for most of our female trout to lay more eggs and allows these eggs to survive in larger numbers. As a result, many of our rivers are ‘gold rated’ for fishermen, meaning they are stocked more than any other waters.
  • One may identify a rainbow trout by its distinct black spots on its back and fins, as well as their pink stripe running down the length of their body.

Rainbow Trout in Colorado


Due to its similarity to salmon, there is a lot of crossover in terms of cooking the two fish. First of all, be sure you know where you can keep fish in Colorado.  There is a good balance of catch and release and keep fishing spots in Colorado.

Generally, if you can cook a recipe with salmon, you can use trout for that exact recipe without making any changes. If you are camping, doing a blackened filet over the fire may be a good option. First, gut and butcher your fish, removing the filet, and place the filet into foil. Ensure that the filet is fully wrapped in the foil and place the wrapped filet over a bed of coals on the fire. Flip the wrapped filet a few times, ensuring that the fish is cooked thoroughly on each side. Salt and pepper to taste! Cooking at home? Try something a bit more gourmet with the sautéed trout encrusted with pecans, an all-American favorite. The soft, succulent trout pairs amazingly with a crunchy pecan crust, and is a relatively easy recipe to cook for such a gourmet idea.


Fishermen are going to find the most and best catches where Rainbows find cover and spawn. The best way to consistently catch trout is to fly fish for them, as opposed to the traditional hook, line, and sinker. Rainbow trout spawn in main river channels and their tributaries, and inlet or outlet streams of lakes. Fishermen will typically wade into these bodies of water to find the best spot to cast in, marked by areas where fish are known to find cover. Bank structure, in-stream wood and boulders, and riparian vegetation provide protective refuge and hiding cover for rainbow trout. Therefore, much better concentrations of these fish may be found here, leading to more bites, and ultimately more successful fishing.

Want to try your hand at catching one?  Call Fly Fishing Colorado today!


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