Rainbow Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss
Rainbow Trout - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Oncorhynchus mykiss
Other names Rainbow, Steelhead Trout
Size Up to 1.2 m (3.93 ft)
Weight Up to 12 kg (26 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Generally freshwater rivers, stream, creeks, lakes, dams & reservoirs. Non-landlocked populations do live in marine waters.
Depth Range 3 - 6 m (20 ft)
Rainbow Trout Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Rainbow trout were introduced to Australia from North America in the late 1800s for recreational fishing purposes.
  • They are a cold-water fish species, and are most commonly found in cooler climates in the southern states of Australia.
  • Rainbow trout have a distinctive appearance, with a silver-blue body and red-pink stripe running along their sides. They also have black spots on their body and fins.
  • They are known to be opportunistic feeders, and will eat a variety of prey including insects, fish, and crustaceans.
  • Rainbow trout have been successfully bred in aquaculture farms in Australia, and are used for commercial purposes such as food production and stocking recreational fisheries.
  • They are one of the most popular sport fish in Australia, and are found in freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes in several states.
  • Estimates of lifespan are 4 to 6 years with some individuals living up to 10 years or more.
Species Interaction

Recreational & Commercial Fishing

Recreational fishing for rainbow trout is a popular activity, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and economic benefits for local communities. Commercial fishing for rainbow trout is also important, as the species is farmed for food production and stocking recreational fisheries.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Salmoniformes

Family: Salmonidae

Genus: Oncorhynchus

Species: Oncorhynchus mykiss

Conservation Status

The conservation status of rainbow trout in Australia is not formally assessed as a separate species, but the species is generally considered to be of Least Concern based on its global distribution and abundance. They are managed as an invasive species in Australia, and efforts are being made to reduce their impact on native fish populations and habitats.

Fish Taste Quality

Rainbow trout have a mild, delicate flavour and a firm, flaky texture, making them versatile for a variety of cooking methods, including grilling, baking, and pan-frying.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Rainbow Trout

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Lures, Worms, Soft plastics, Live minnow, Insects, Flies

Technique: Slowly sink bait towards bottom, Trolling, Cast lures with a fast retrieve, Cast lures close to structure

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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