The Rainbow Trout and Steelhead
Hybrid Rainbow trout or “Cutbow”
The rainbow is a native to cold water streams of the pacific ocean. It can be found all throughout the US, but was once limited to Asia and US coastlines. The anadromous species is called the steelhead. These fish will spend most of their lives in the ocean (or great lakes) only returning to rivers to spawn.
These fish are aggressive fighters and originally could be found in most rivers of Alaska and cold rivers of CA. These days after heavy planting, can be caught in many rivers that would have otherwise been inaccessible to them. After heavy planting efforts they are now all over the US and Canada. They are prized for their ability to fight harder than most trout species. They are also heavily stocked in ponds and streams because of their ability to withstand circumstances that would kill most other trout species.
These fish are the same stock as a standard rainbow, however spend several years in large water feeding before coming inland to spawn. They grow much larger than “river native” rainbows and are a prized sport fish in each range they inhabit. Typically the steelhead will spend three years in the ocean (or great lakes) before coming inland to spawn.
The rainbows jump more frequently than most other trout, and pound for pound can outfight them all. They are a strong and durable species, compared to most trout. They are considered undesirable in many areas that the cutthroat trout inhabits, due to interbreeding between the species and dilution of the pure native cutthroat gene pool. Certain species of the rainbow trout is also known as the “redband” because of its reddish band on the sides.
Rainbow trout are an aggressive species similar to the brown trout. They will eat at all hours of the night and feed opportunistically on anything appearing edible. They are typically caught in Alaska using mouse patterns and streamers.