U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792)
 

Common name: Rainbow Trout
 

Synonyms and Other Names: steelhead [anadromous form], coastal rainbow

 

Taxonomy: available through 
 

Identification: Rainbow trout are a deep-bodied, compressed species with a typical trout body shape, a moderately large head, and a mouth that extends back behind the eyes. Rainbow trout have highly variable coloration: those that live in lakes are silvery with a dark olive-green colour on the back, though the dorsal coloration is sometimes a deep steely blue, mostly in fish that live offshore in deep lakes or in small fish that have not yet spawned. Numerous spots are present on the back and extend about two-thirds of the way to the lateral line down the sides. The sides are silvery and largely free of spots, the belly and ventral surface of the head are whitish, and sometimes a soft metallic-pink color is present along the sides of the body and the head (GISD, 2019).

 

When rainbow trout leave lakes to spawn, their coloration becomes more intense: the pinkish stripe that is present on the sides of lake fish, along with the fins, turn a rich crimson color, and there is sometimes a red slash in the folds below the lower jaw. The belly and the lower sides turn gray, and spots on the sides and upper fins become bolder and more clearly delineated. Juvenile trout are olive-green along their back and silvery olive high on their sides. There are 8-13 oval-shaped marks along the sides, which may also have smaller dark spots along them. Blush-pink to yellowish markings occur along the lateral lines between the oval marks (McDowall, 1990).

For further identification guides, see Moyle (1976a); Scott and Crossman (1973); Wydoski and Whitney (1979); Morrow (1980); Eschmeyer et al. (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Behnke (1992). Behnke (1992) gave accounts and drawings for several subspecies. A commonly used named for this species is Salmo gairdnerii, sometimes given as S. gairdneri.

Size: 114 cm
 

Native Range: Pacific Slope from Kuskokwim River, Alaska, to (at least) Rio Santa Domingo, Baja California; upper Mackenzie River drainage (Arctic basin), Alberta and British Columbia; endorheic basins of southern Oregon (Page and Burr 1991).

Ecology: Lake fish usually spawn in lake tributaries, where the young trout feed and grow before migrating downstream after about a year. Growing to maturity in the lake takes between 2-4 years, at which time they migrate back to the tributaries to spawn. Most fish will return to the tributary in which they hatched (McDowall, 1990). Some lake populations may spawn in lake-shore gravels rather than travel into tributaries, however. Adult rainbow trout eat insects (both aquatic and terrestrial), crustaceans, molluscs, fish eggs, and small fish. Young trout feed predominantly on zooplankton (GISD, 2019).

 

Means of Introduction: Beginning in the late 1800s, there have been many stockings of this species for sportfishing purposes by state and federal agencies and by private individuals, mostly into streams and spring branches. Some states stock on an annual basis.

 

Status: Established in many states, including Hawaii. Also frequently stocked in most states to replenish populations harvested by fishing pressures or in other areas where populations are not self sustaining. One specimen collected from Mississippi (Ross and Brenneman 1991). Stocked once, in 1991, in Louisiana. The stocking failed. Previously established in Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park. Extirpated via rotenone treatments in 2015 and 2016; currently monitoring and eDNA testing (Ertel 2018).

 

Impact of Introduction: The rainbow trout hybridizes with other, more rare trout species, thereby affecting their genetic integrity (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Rinne and Minckley 1985; Page and Burr 1991). In California, rainbow trout have hybridized with Lahontan cutthroat trout O. clarki henshawi, golden trout O. aguabonita, and redband trout O. mykiss subsp. to the point that all three are included in the threatened trout management program of the California Department of Fish and Game (McAffee 1966b; Moyle 1976b; Behnke 1992). In the Lahontan drainage and various Rocky Mountain rivers, hybridization with rainbow trout has been a major factor in the decline of native cutthroat trouts (McAffee 1966a). Rainbow trout have been shown to hybridize with Westslope cutthroat trout throughout the Flathead River system in Montana (Muhlfeld et. al, 2009). In Nevada, this species is also held responsible for the virtual extinction of Alvord cutthroat O. mykiss subsp. (Behnke 1992). In Arizona, the species has hybridized with native gila trout O. gilae and Apache trout O. apache (Minckley 1973; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1979). Rainbow trout have replaced Lahontan cutthroat trout in areas where the cutthroat is native and Rainbow Trout have been introduced (McAffee 1966b). Introduced rainbow trout, and other trout species, were likely responsible for the near-extinction of Lahontan cutthroat in Lake Tahoe in the 1940s (McAffee 1966b). Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi hybridization with O. mykiss, and the resulting backcrossing to pure parent populations, has resulted in strong introgression toward both populations in the Upper Oldman River, Alberta, Canada (Rasmussen et al. 2010).

 

Rainbow trout have been found to negatively affect Little Colorado spinedace Lepidomeda vittata through predation and by affecting spinedace behavior. The trout occupied undercut banks that the spinedace normally used for refuge. As a result, spinedace were displaced from preferred microhabitats and pushed into open water, making them vulnerable to predation (Blinn et al. 1993). Thibault and Dodsen (2013) found significant habitat niche overlap between introduced Rainbow Trout and two native salmonids, Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and brook trout Salvelinus fontinatlis, within eastern Quebec rivers, and increased habitat overlap between native salmonids in rivers containing rainbow trout.

Stocking of hatchery rainbow trout in rivers has led to introduction of whirling disease into open waters in approximately 20 states including, most recently, the Madison River and its tributaries in Montana (B. Nehring and R. White, personal communication). In the Madison River, the disease has reduced the rainbow trout population by 90% (White, personal communication). Rainbow trout have the potential to consume native fishes and compete with native salmonids (Page and Laird 1993). Introduced rainbow trout eat endangered humpback chub Gila cypha in the Little Colorado River, and may exert a major negative effect on the population there (Marsh and Douglas 1997). Fausch (1988), Clark and Rose (1997), and numerous papers cited in both, discussed several factors affecting competitive interactions between rainbow and brook trout. Rainbow trout drive nongame fishes such as suckers and squawfish from feeding territories (Li, personal communication to P. Moyle in Moyle 1976a). Introduced predatory fishes, including the rainbow trout, are likely at least partially responsible for the decline of the Chiricahua leopard frog Rana chiricahuensis in southeastern Arizona (Rosen et al. 1995).

Remarks: Tyus et al. (1982) mapped the distribution of rainbow trout in the upper Colorado basin.

Anonymous. 2000. Northwestern Pa. waters. James's Northeastern Fishing Guide.

 

Behnke, R.J. 1992. Native trout of western North America. American Fisheries Society Monograph 6. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, 275 pp.

Blinn, D.W., C. Runck, D.A. Clark, and J.N. Rinne. 1993. Effects of rainbow trout predation on Little Colorado spinedace. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 122:139-143.

Boogaard, M.A., T.D. Bills, and D.A. Johnson. 2003. Acute toxicity of TFM and a TFM/niclosamide mixture to selected species of fish, including lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and Mudpuppies (Necturus maculosus), in Laboratory and Field Exposures. Journal of Great Lakes Research 29(Supplement 1):529-541.

Bradley, W.G., and J.E. Deacon. 1967. The biotic communities of southern Nevada. Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers No. 13, Part 4. 201-273.

Burkhead, N.M., S.J. Walsh, B.J. Freeman, and J.D. Williams. 1997. Status and restoration of the Etowah River, an imperiled southern Appalachian ecosystem, p 375-444, In: G.W. Benz and D.E. Collins (eds). Aquatic Fauna in Perile: The Southeastern Perspective. Special Publication 1, Southeast Aquatic Research Institute, Lenz Design & Communications, Decatur, GA.

Champion, P., J. Clayton, and D. Rowe. 2002. Lake Manager's Handbook: Alien Invaders. New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.

Clark, M.E., and K.A. Rose. 1997. Factors affecting competitive dominance of rainbow trout over brook trout in southern Appalachian streams: implications of an individual-based model. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 126(2):1-20.

Clearwater, S.J., C.W. Hickey, and M.L. Martin. 2008. Overview of potential piscicides and molluscicides for controlling aquatic pest species in New Zealand. Science & Technical Publishing, New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Ertel, B. 2018. Preservation of Native Cutthroat Trout in Northern Yellowstone. https://www.nps.gov/articles/preservation-of-native-cutthroat-trout-in-northern-yellowstone.htm. Accessed on 04/23/2018.

Fausch, K.D. 1988. Tests of competition between native and introduced salmonids in streams: what have we learned? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 45(12):2238-2246.

Feltmate, B.W., and D.D. Williams. 1989. Influence of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) on density and feeding behavior of a perlid stonefly. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 46(9):1575-1580.

Finlayson, B.J., R.A. Schnick, R.L. Cailteux, L. Demong, W.D. Horton, W. McClay, and C.W. Thompson. 2002. Assessment of antimycin A use in fisheries and its potential for reregistration. Fisheries 27(6):10-18.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2011. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme: Oncorhynchus mykiss. Text by Cowx, I.G. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 15 June 2005. Available: http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Oncorhynchus_mykiss/en. Accessed 19 December 2011.

Gilderhus, P.A. 1972. Exposure times necessary for antimycin and rotenone to eliminate certain freshwater fish. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 25(2):199-202.

Global Invasive Species Database. 2019. Species profile: Oncorhynchus mykiss. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=103 on 03-05-2019.

Graham, K. 2003. Diamond Lake sick with algae. OregonLive.com. July 21, 2003.

Hamblin, P.F., and P. Gale. 2002. Water quality modeling of caged aquaculture impacts in Lake Wolsey, North Channel of Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 28(1):32-43.

Ivan, L.N., E.S. Rutherford, and T.H. Johengen. 2011. Impacts of adfluvial fish on the ecology of two Great Lakes tributaries. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140:1670-1682.

Kelch, D., F. Lichtkoppler, B. Sohngen, and A. Daigneault. 2006. The value of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) angling in Lake Erie tributaries. Journal of Great Lakes Research 32(3):424-433.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. Volume 1980. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh.

Li, H.W. – Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Lintermans, M. and T. Raadik. 2003. Local eradication of trout from streams using rotenone: the Australian experience. Pages 95-111 in Managing invasive freshwater fish in New Zealand: Proceedings of a workshop hosted by the Department of Conservation, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Loyacano, H.A. 1975. A List of Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina. Bulletin of the South Carolina Experimental Station. Bulletin 580, 9 pp.

Madison, D. 2003. Outlaw Introductions. Montana Outdoors. July/August 2003: 26-35.

Marking, L.L. and T.D. Bills. 1985. Effects of contaminants on toxicity of the lampricides TFM and Bayer 73 to three species of fish. Journal of Great Lakes Research 11(2):171-178.

Marotz, B. 2004. Tough Love, why it makes sense to kill some fish in order to save others. Montana Outdoors. March/April 2004.

Marsh, P.C., and M.E. Douglas. 1997. Predation by introduced fishes on endangered humpback chub and other native species in the Little Colorado River, Arizona. Transactions American Fisheries Society 126:343-346.

McAffee, W.R. 1966a. Rainbow trout. In A. Calhoun, ed. Inland Fisheries Management. California Department of Fish and Game. pp. 192-215.

McAffee, W.R. 1966b. Lahontan cutthroat trout. In A. Calhoun, ed. Inland Fisheries Management. California Department of Fish and Game. pp. 225-231.

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Miller, R.R., and C.H. Lowe. 1967. Part 2. Fishes of Arizona, p 133-151, In: C.H. Lowe, ed. The Vertebrates of Arizona. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ.

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Moyle, P.B. 1976a. Inland Fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Moyle, P.B. 1976b. Fish introduction in California: history and impact on native fishes. Biological Conservation 9:101-118.

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Rasmussen, J.B., M.D. Robinson, and D.D. Heath. 2010. Ecological consequences of hybridization between native westslope cutthroat (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) and introduced rainbow (Oncorhynchus mykiss) trout: effects on life history and habitat use. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67(2):357-370.

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Other Resources:
Distribution in Illinois - Illinois Natural History Survey

 

Oncorhyncus mykiss - Global Invasive Species Database

Great Lakes Waterlife

FishBase Summary
 

Author: Fuller, P., J. Larson, A. Fusaro, T.H. Makled, and M. Neilson
 

Revision Date: 9/12/2019
 

Peer Review Date: 11/4/2013
 

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., J. Larson, A. Fusaro, T.H. Makled, and M. Neilson, 2021, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=910, Revision Date: 9/12/2019, Peer Review Date: 11/4/2013, Access Date: 2/8/2021

Jeremy Harper © 

Salmo trutta Linnaeus, 1758
 

Common name: Brown Trout
 

Synonyms and Other Names: Salmo fario, S. lacustris; von Behr trout, Loch Leven trout, German brown trout
 

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).

 

Size: 103 cm
 

Native Range: Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia (Page and Burr 1991)

Means of Introduction: The Brown Trout was first imported to the United States in 1883 from Germany and stocked in the Pere Marquette River, Michigan, by the U.S. Fish Commission (Mather 1889; Courtenay et al. 1984). Since then, the species has been stocked in virtually every state. MacCrimmon et al. (1970) gave dates of first stocking in each state. In most regions the species was first stocked in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Texas and Alabama introductions took place after 1970; MacCrimmon et al. (1970) listed no introductions for those states. 

 

Status: Natural reproduction is low or nonexistent in most states, as such, many states maintain Brown Trout populations by periodic stocking. Rinne (1995) listed this species as established in Arizona, but the species may not be reproducing in open waters; Rinne apparently used the term 'established' for species that maintain long-term populations through continual or periodic stockings. Courtenay et al. (1984) indicated that introductions failed to establish populations in Florida, Kansas, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

 

Impact of Introduction: Brown Trout have been implicated in reducing native fish populations (especially other salmonids) through predation, displacement, and food competition (Taylor et al. 1984). Many studies have been conducted looking at the effects of Brown Trout on Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis including Nyman (1970), Fausch and White (1981), Waters (1983), Fausch and White (1986), and DeWald and Wilzbach (1992), to name a few. Taylor et al. (1984) list a number of papers citing the effects of Brown Trout on native fishes. Fausch and White (1981) stated adult Brown Trout displaced adult native Brook Trout from the best habitats in a Michigan stream, and in the northeast in general. Brook Trout are also more susceptible to angling and predation. Conversely, juvenile Brook Trout are dominant over juvenile Brown Trout of the same size in an artificial stream (Fausch and White 1986). The competitive advantage of the two species may change with size, age, temperature, stream size, or environmental adaptations of different populations (Fausch and White 1986). Wagner et al. (2013) used two-species occupancy models to examine the distribution of Brown and Brook Trout in Pennsylvania streams, and found that predicted occurrence of Brook Trout was lower in the presence of Brown Trout across a wide range of landscape habitat characteristics. McKenna et al. (2013) used modeling, ordination, and simulations and found that stocking intensity of Brown Trout into Brook Trout habitat was a major factor in Brook Trout abundance, moreso than habitat differences or interspecific interactions. Houde et al. (2015) found that juvenile Brown Trout reduced the survival and growth of juvenile Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) from three populations in artificial stream trials.

 

Although it rarely occurs, the Brown Trout is one of the few foreign species able to hybridize with natives (e.g., S. fontinalis) (Brown 1966; Taylor et al. 1984). In California, competition and predation from Brown Trout may have contributed to the decline of the Dolly Varden S. malma in the McCloud River (Moyle 1976), and of the Golden Trout Oncorhynchus aguabonita in the Kern River (Krueger and May 1991; Courtenay and Williams 1992). Brown Trout may have also depleted the Modoc Sucker Catostomus microps, an endangered species, in Rush Creek, Modoc County (Moyle and Marciochi 1975). Brown Trout have commonly replaced Cutthroat Trout O. clarkii in large rivers (Behnke 1992). McAffee (1966) specifically lists Lahontan cutthroats O. c. henshawi as being replaced by Brown Trout. Introduced Brown Trout, and other trout species, were likely responsible for the near-extinction of Lahontan cutthroat in Lake Tahoe in the 1940s (McAffee 1966). Because of their predatory nature, Brown Trout were introduced into Flaming Gorge Reservoir to reduce populations of the Utah Chub Gila atraria (Teuscher and Luecke 1996).  Competition with and predation by nonnative species (i.e., Catostomus sp., Creek Chub Semotilus atromaculatus, Redside Shiner Richardsonius balteatus, Burbot Lota lota, Brown Trout Salmo trutta, and Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush) limit populations of the rare Bluehead Sucker Catostomus discobolus (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010). Brown Trout occupy similar habitat types as, and predate upon, Roundtail Chub Gila robusta (a species of conservation concern) in Wyoming lakes (Laske et al. 2012). Nonnative predators, including Brown Trout, have been shown to reduce the abundance and diversity of native prey species in several Pacific Northwest rivers (Hughes and Herlihy 2012).

Remarks: The state of California has attempted to eradicate Brown Trout in some areas in order to preserve native Golden Trout O. aguabonita (Taylor et al. 1984; Moyle, personal communication). Tyus et al. (1982) mapped the distribution of the Brown Trout in the upper Colorado basin. MacCrimmon and Marshall (1968) and MacCrimmon et al. (1970) summarized information on worldwide distribution and introductions. 

eferences (click for full references)

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