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Trout Species

Trout Species – Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout
By Brett Fogle

Rainbow Trout: Few freshwater fish can match the fighting spirit
and beauty of a Rainbow Trout.

The Rainbow Trout is a well-traveled species of fish. Originally,
the Rainbow Trout was found in the coastal rivers in the United
States on the west coast but today, Rainbow Trout are found
throughout the United States, as well as in the cold-water
streams of South America, Europe, New Zealand and even Australia.

The reason for the wide range of Rainbow Trout in the U.S. is
that Rainbow Trout are relatively easy to transplant. Virtually
all areas that Rainbow Trout now inhabit are due to environmental
transplants – both intentionally or unintentionally.

Regardless, Rainbow Trout are the most popular types of trout
found in the world today, and are also the most sought after
trout by fly fishermen.

The Rainbow Trout is equally famous for it’s acrobatic aerial
displays and very long runs to avoid being caught.

Rainbow Trout are also well-known for being highly selective in
what they eat.  While at other times, they seemingly gorge
themselves on just about everything in sight.

Rainbow Trout are easily distinguished by the red stripe that
travels the length of the fish, from the gill plates to the tail.
Rainbow Trout also have hundreds of black spots that cover the
dorsal of the body (the dorsal part of the body of a trout refers
to the “back side” of the fish).

Brown Trout : Brown Trout are the "smartest" of the trout family,
frequently frustrating beginners and professionals alike.

The Brown Trout, which is similar to the Rainbow Trout, is also
found extensively throughout the world. The Brown Trout was
originally a European and Asian fish, but has made its way to
North America, New Zealand and South America. In the United
States, Brown Trout are found extensively in the Rocky Mountains
and also in Midwestern and Eastern U.S. trout streams.

The Brown Trout is famous for its intelligence and cunning
ability to avoid being caught. Simple fly fishing tactics that
work for other types of trout often times fail miserably when fly
fishing for Brown Trout and often lead anglers to frustration –
especially beginning anglers. Yet this same intelligence makes
catching Brown Trout all the more challenging and rewarding,
especially since Brown Trout are generally a little bit larger
than their Rainbow Trout cousins. This is due primarily to their
ability to live in warmer water (which usually has higher
nutrients than colder water).

Brown Trout are sometimes hatchery raised, although not nearly on
the same scale as the Rainbow Trout. The difficulties in raising
Brown Trout in hatcheries, combined with the desire of anglers to
fly fish for the easier to catch Rainbow Trout, have limited the
numbers of Brown Trout raised in hatcheries.

Brown Trout are notorious for ruining many fly fishing trips for
anglers. The high degree of intelligence displayed by Brown Trout
makes them very difficult to even hook. Once hooked, the real
intelligence of the Brown Trout really becomes evident. Instead
of putting on acrobatic displays like the Rainbow Trout, Brown
Trout almost always head for every obstacle in the river – in
hopes of entangling and snapping the line. Failing that, it will
make monstrous runs, and even take to the air like the Rainbow
Trout as a last resort.  In short, a Brown Trout will truly
exhaust itself trying to break free from your fishing line, using
every trick they know to escape.  All to often, the trout ends up
getting away since light tippets and tackle are often usually
used when fly fishing for Brown Trout - leading to many ‘the big
one that got away’ stories at dinnertime.

The Brown Trout is recognized by its butter colored sides and has
black and red spots following the lateral line of its body. To
many people, the Brown Trout is rather ugly, especially when
stacked up against a more colorful rainbow or Brook Trout.
However, the minute you hook a 20-inch Brown Trout – you’ll think
it ‘s the most beautiful fish in the world.

If you’re an avid Rainbow Trout angler, be warned that the Brown
Trout could very well be the primary trout species of the future,
so it’s best to brush up on your tactics for this wily fish.
Brown Trout are remarkably resilient and have a strong instinct
to survive. Their ability to live in warmer waters than other
trout, along with their resistance to Whirling Disease, allows
Brown Trout to thrive in areas where Rainbow Trout often struggle
to survive. In the years to come, especially if drought
conditions continue in the Rocky Mountains and the climate
continues to warm, it is quite possible that Brown Trout will
become the primary trout species in most of the United States.

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