The rainbow trout of the Great Lakes are generally anadromous. The rainbow trout is a member of the salmon family of fishes. It has: an elongate, laterally compressed body; a rounded snout, which becomes extended and the lower jaw turns up in breeding males; the back, upper sides and the top of the head are steel blue, blue-green, yellow-green to almost brown; the sides are silvery, white or pale yellow-green to grey, and marked with a pink blush to red band and many small black spots; the underside is silvery, white or grey to yellowish; the dorsal and caudal fins have radiating rows of black spots, while the remaining fins are buff with few spots; and stream dwelling and spawning brown trout display darker, more intense colours, whereas lake residents are lighter, brighter and more silvery.
The rainbow trout is one of the most widely introduced fishes on a global basis. Its native range was the eastern Pacific Ocean and the freshwater west of the Rocky Mountains, from northwest Mexico to Alaska. In Canada, the rainbow trout occurs outside British Columbia from the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, across the southern portions of the provinces from Nova Scotia to Ontario, north to central Manitoba, to northern Alberta, and in the Yukon.
Rainbow trout are currently being stocked in all of the Great Lakes. Several fishing clubs run private, provincially sanctioned hatcheries for rainbow trout stocking in Lake Huron (seven operations), Lake Ontario (two operations) and Lake Erie (one operation). In addition, MNR currently stocks rainbow trout in Lakes Ontario and Erie. American agencies also stock significant number of rainbow trout into the Great Lakes. According to the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, the stocking of rainbow trout in the Great Lakes is intended to rehabilitate streams with poor natural reproduction or provide put-grow-and-take fisheries in areas lacking reproductive habitat. Significant levels of natural reproduction of rainbow trout occur in all the Great Lakes.
Rainbow trout provide important fisheries in inland lakes and ponds.
Conservation Status in Ontario
SNA - a conservation status rank is not applicable because the species is not a suitable target for conservation activities.