Native to areas west of the Rocky Mountains, rainbow trout are found throughout the North American continent and other parts of the world because of transplantation efforts. Named for the rainbow-like pink strip along their sides, the rainbow trout is an aggressive predator and a spectacular fighter. While the trout can live in warmer waters, rainbows thrive in regions where the water temperature remains below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making most areas of Canada ideal habitat to fish for rainbow trout.
Items you will need
- Fishing tackle
- Fishing license
Obtain a provincial fishing license. Licenses may be purchased from province Ministry Department of Natural Resources offices or their authorized agents, such as sporting goods stores and park ranger stations. Additionally, some provinces also require a non-Canadian resident Outdoors Card. Check with the local province MDNR offices for regulations pursuant to the specific province where you will be fishing.
Locate clean waterways. As rainbow trout have a low tolerance for murky water they are most often found in waters, from small stream to large lakes, which run cool and clear.
Work the areas around the shallows in the spring and fall. Later in the summer, when the water close to the surface warms, rainbows will be found in deeper water where water temperatures remain cooler. Concentrate on areas of structure along underwater cliffs and points where the predators wait to ambush prey.
Choose spinning tackle over wet flies. Rainbows have an almost supernatural ability to detect motion in the water and are attracted to flashy metal spoons and spinner baits. Stick with lures through the morning and midday, when a slow on-and-off retrieve can provoke savage strikes. Cast the lure and allow the spoon to sink for three or four seconds. Jerk the rod tip and reel in a few feet of line before allowing the lure to sink again. Repeat the sequence.
Choose dry flies late in the evening when rainbows are rising to take emerging insects. Match the size and color of the artificial fly to the type of insects the trout are feeding on, when possible. While rainbows can be finicky they will also hit large flies that produce a large silhouette and resemble nothing in nature, like the Royal Coachman. Cast the fly to a spot above where you see a trout rising and allow the fly to drift naturally in the current down to the fish.
Get off the beaten path. For as aggressive as rainbows are they quickly become wise to the tricks of fishermen. Look for rivers and lakes in wilderness and roadless areas that do not receive excessive amounts of pressure, such as The Turtle River-White Otter Wilderness Area in Northwest Ontario or the backcountry lakes of Banff National Park in Alberta.
Tips & Warnings
- Rainbow trout are a heavily stocked species; call the regional province fisheries offices to inquire about stocking programs.
- Understand the fishing regulations as laws can vary between regions and even waters with a region.
- "Comprehensive Guide to Fishing Canada"; Babe Winkelman; 1983
- "Baits, Rigs and Tackle"; Vic Dunaway; 2002
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Fish Ontario
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