Species Profile: The Rainbow Trout

The Rainbow Trout Explained

The rainbow trout is one of the most popular and common species of fish found in the streams and lakes of Montana and is the most popular gamefish in the state. On this blog, we look at some of the characteristics and habits of this particular breed in order to help you better prepare to wrangle them in on your next fishing trip with us at Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort.

Call (406) 333-1449 today to book your stay at our Montana fly fishing resort.

What Do Rainbow Trout Look Like?

The rainbow trout gets its name from its distinctive rainbow pattern found along its sides. The majority of the fish is an olive green-like color with spots throughout, but both sides have a streak of red or pink and occasionally other colors running through.

Trout that live in large lakes or under the ice may appear to be a bright silver in color. Their tail fin is slightly forked in the middle, becoming more pronounced in larger and older fish.

Rainbow trout generally don’t weigh more than a few pounds but can grow very large in productive waters. Some anglers will occasionally pull in a catch of 10 pounds or more, and the state record currently stands at a whopping 33 pounds!

History of the Rainbow Trout

Scientists believe the rainbow trout is only native in the state in the upper Kootenai River drainage areas. The rest of the trout were introduced into the rivers and lakes from fish hatcheries beginning in 1889.

Rainbow trout are a tough breed and have taken over a lot of the food resources in the wild, leading to a sharp reduction in native cutthroat trout.

Where Can Rainbow Trout Be Found in Montana?

Rainbow trout are found commonly in lakes and streams all across the state of Montana. They are regularly stocked into lakes and rivers as gamefish, but preservation efforts have since stopped them from being stocked into streams.

That being said, trout will migrate upstream and into river tributaries in search of food relatively frequently.

What Do Rainbow Trout Eat?

Rainbow trout primarily feed on small insects, both aquatic and terrestrial. This makes them a prime target for fly fishing, particularly with dry flies that come to rest on the top of the water.

However, they’ll eat just about anything that’s available to them, including some smaller fish in the case of large adults.

Are you ready to cast a line and try your hand at fishing for rainbow trout? Whether you want to get on the water for a day or for a week, there is no better place to go for a top-quality location, expert guides, and fine dining than Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort. We offer a wide variety of fishing and hunting packages that will thrill any angler, including lodging accommodations in private cabins that overlook the picturesque waters.

For more information or to make a reservation for your outdoor adventure, contact Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort today at (406) 333-1449.