California Department of Fish and Wildlife
trout and fly rod

Coastal Rainbow Trout (native)

Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus

Coastal rainbow trout are usually the first fish that comes to mind when people think of trout in California. From early fish culture programs the rainbow trout has been spread to other continents, making the rainbow well-known around the world. The native range of rainbow trout in California extends along the entire coast and to the Sacramento-San Joaquin system inland. The rainbow's interior range was limited usually by upstream migrational barriers, such as waterfalls and cataracts. Anadromous rainbows, or steelhead trout, spend a portion of their life cycle in the ocean, returning to freshwater streams to spawn. Coastal streams may support both steelhead and freshwater resident rainbows. Due to extensive, widespread stocking, movement, and hybridization, coastal rainbows stocks may have been genetically altered in much of their range. Coastal rainbow trout have been extensively cultured in hatchery programs and selectively bred to produce fish with a variety of characteristics for growth in hatchery environments and "catchability" for anglers.

See also