Rainbow trout are beautiful. They are found throughout North America, but they are native to the coastal waters and tributary streams of the Pacific basin. Currently, there are over a dozen rainbow trout subspecies in the world. Some rainbow trout live only in freshwater lakes and rivers, while others migrate between freshwater to spawn and the ocean. These shimmering fish grow large, but just how big do they get? What about in Arizona? Follow along to discover the largest rainbow trout ever caught in Arizona.
About the Rainbow Trout
In 1792 Johann Julius Walbaum named the species rainbow trout. Its scientific name is Oncorhynchus mykiss. There are also multiple subspecies, including coastal forms, redband forms, Mexican forms, mutated forms, and Kern River golden trout. These beautiful shimmering fish vary in size and appearance. Follow along to learn more about rainbow trout.
Description and Size
Most rainbow trout measure between 20 to 30 inches. Some subspecies, like the Kern River rainbow trout, are larger than other species. These region-specific trout grow up to 28 inches long. One of the smallest subspecies is the Little Kern golden trout, which barely grows past 10 inches. A Little Kern golden trout larger than 10 inches long, is considered a large catch. Freshwater rainbow trout typically weigh between 1 to 5 pounds. Another popular rainbow trout subspecies for anglers is the Eagle Lake rainbow trout. On average, it weighs 2 pounds.
Rainbow trout have blue-green or olive-green skin with spots throughout their bodies. However, some subspecies are lighter, while others are darker. Most adult rainbow trout also have a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line. This line runs from their gills to their tails. Lake-dwelling rainbow trout fish are typically more silvery. This coloring helps them blend in and hide from predators. Other subspecies have pink or reddish markings, like the cutthroat trout, with silver. One of the most unique rainbow trout subspecies is the golden trout. They are native to California and are easy to spot. Golden trout have golden flanks with bright red horizontal bands and about 10 dark oval marks on each side. Golden trout fish are beautiful, vibrant, and small, rarely growing past 10 inches long.
Rainbow trout are carnivorous predators, but they aren’t overtly aggressive. They have a varied diet and aren’t picky. Most rainbow trout consume aquatic insects like larval, pupal, mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies. Rainbow trout also eat land insects like ants if they fall into the water. Other than insects, rainbow trout fish eat algae, fish eggs, small fish, snake hatchlings, and crustaceans. Adult coastal rainbow trout eat squids, fish, and amphipods.
The Largest Rainbow Trout Ever Caught in Arizona
Anglers travel all over North America searching for large rainbow trout to catch. The largest inland water, hook, and line record for rainbow trout in Arizona weighed 15 pounds and 9.2 ounces. On September 29, 2006, Harold Wright caught this massive rainbow trout in Willow Springs Lake. This isn’t the only rainbow trout record in Arizona. For example, in 2010 Ben Sandall caught a 32-inch rainbow trout in Silver Creek. This fish won the record for the largest rainbow trout ever caught and released in Arizona’s inland waters. In Colorado River waters, the largest rainbow trout caught with a hook and line weighed 21 pounds and 5.5 ounces. John Reid, from Las Vegas, caught this large fish in Willow Beach. Last but not least, the largest rainbow trout ever caught and released in the Colorado River in Arizona was 22 inches long. It was caught by Kenan Guleryuz in 2010.
Where Is Willow Springs Lake Located On A Map?
Willow Springs Lake is located near the middle of Arizona, just northwest of the Fort Apache Reservation off Highway 260. Sitgreaves National Forest lies further east, offering more many more natural wonders to be explored.
The Largest Rainbow Trout Caught in the World
On September 5th, 2009, Sean Konrad caught a world record 48-pound rainbow trout while fishing in Lake Diefenbaker, South Saskatchewan, Canada. The fish measured an impressive 42 inches long with a 32-inch girth. Sean caught the fish while fishing with his twin brother, who was teasing him about having never caught a 40-pound rainbow trout. His twin brother, Adam Konrad, caught the previous largest rainbow trout in the world. It weighed 43 pounds and 2 ounces.
Other Common Fish in Arizona
Fishing is a popular sport and hobby in Arizona. There isn’t a shortage of great lakes and rivers to choose from. In fact, there are over 128 major lakes and 5 rivers in the state with some of the best fishing spots in the world. One of the best fishing spots in Arizona is Roosevelt Lake. This warm-water lake is located in Tonto National Forest. You can catch a wide variety of fish species including striped bass, catfish, and white bass. You can also take a trip to Lake Havasu State Park next time you want to go fishing in Arizona. Here you can find largemouth bass, sunfish, and smallmouth bass. The lake is 25 miles long with about 450 miles.
Other common fish in Arizona are:
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.