Redband Trout, Oncorhynchus

Redband Trout is a fish name that may be a synonym for the rainbow trout, but is used more narrowly for two subspecies with well-defined geographical distributions in the United States: the Columbia River Redband trout, (Oncorhynchus mykiss gardenia), found in Montana, Washington and Idaho, and the Great Basin Redband trout, (Oncorhynchus mykiss newberrii), found in southeastern Oregon, and parts of California and Nevada. Both subspecies are popular game fishes.

The redband trout is generally similar in appearance to the rainbow trout but can be differentiated by having larger, more rounded spots, parr marks that tend to remain into adulthood, are more orange-red around the lateral line, and have very distinct white tips on the anal, dorsal, and pectoral fins. They will exceed 10 inches at maturity, which they reach within 3 years.

Both redband trout subspecies find their ideal habitat in clean, cool, relatively small and low gradient streams, but are capable of enduring higher water temperatures (75″“80 °F) than other trout that may co-habit the same streams. As with other trout, they feed on insects, crustaceans, and forage fish depending on their size.

Redband trout spawn from late April through mid-June depending on water temperatures and levels. The fry (young fish) typically emerge from the gravel in which the eggs were laid in mid-July.

Image Caption: Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus). Credit: Forest Service of the US Department of Agriculture