Oncorhynchus mykiss(Walbaum, 1792)
member of the Salmon Family (Salmonidae)
Mississippi River, Hennepin County, Minnesota 26 June 1995
In a Name?
Do They Live?
The rainbow trout or steelhead is an introduced exotic species. It is native to the West Coast and some of the streams west of the Rocky Mountains. Rainbow trout have been introduced into many of Minnesota's streams and lakes, especially in the northern half of the state. A migratory strain that normally lives in the Pacific Ocean was introduced long ago into Lake Superior and it has become naturalized. We call it the steelhead. Steelheads begin and end their lives in streams and live in Lake Superior during their major growth period. A different hatchery strain was introduced more recently. Non-migratory rainbows typically live in fast-running clean streams with gravel bottoms and in deep, cool, soft water lakes. The Missouri strain of rainbows do especially well in warmer streams where brown and brook trout cannot survive.
Big Do They Get?
Do They Eat?
Young rainbow trout first eat waterfleas and then add aquatic (water) insects, like caddisflies, mayflies, and midges, to their diet. As they grow larger they include small fish, but continue to consume larval and adult insects. They also supplement the diet with other kinds of food, such as snail, leeches, fish eggs, sideswimmers, and algae.
Do They Reproduce?
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Photographs by Konrad P. Schmidt
Text by Ted Halpern, Nicole Paulson & Jay T. Hatch in cooperation with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' MinnAqua Aquatic Program
This page developed with funds from the
MinnAqua Program (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries)
Sport Fish Restoration Program (Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior)
Maintained by Jay T. Hatch
General College and James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Last updated 23 October 2002