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Rainbow Trout caught on a river

Where are Rainbow Trout Found?

You can find rainbow trout in many countries including the Northwest coast of America, as well as in different parts of Europe and Mexico. Unlike Brown Trout, they can adapt to slightly warmer water than their native range. They also have the advantage of spawning several times during their lifetime, which makes them ideal for stocking in ponds.

Trout are typically found in cool, clear streams and lakes with a good supply of food. However, they like to live in riffles and fast water. This is where they can feed on insect larvae, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates. They can also adapt to a wide range of water conditions but prefer places with natural cover. Good natural cover is clean water with gravel or rocks at the bottom.

Let’s dig into the details of where to find rainbow trout.

Where to Find a Rainbow Trout?

  • Clear streams and lakes

When you catch rainbow trout in small streams, you’ll be dealing with quick-moving, shallow water. If you are fishing in mountain streams, you’ll probably find some small and medium-sized native trout species. You can try fly fishing or bait fishing with worms, and grasshoppers in these water bodies, as they are extremely helpful in catching the trout.

  • Places with natural cover

Rainbow trout are also quite lazy and like to stay near boulders, rocks, and other obstructions that create hiding and resting spots and impede the current flow. They love to find objects to rest behind and hide from predators. A riffle will make a great starting point when looking for rainbow trout. Bonus points if the area has an overhead shelter like a tree or bush and quick access to deeper water. If you place multiple casts upstream, to the side, and downstream of the object, you’ll likely catch rainbow trout sitting there.

What countries have rainbow trout?

Rainbow trout are primarily found on the west coast of North America, some countries within Eastern Asia, and the eastern coast of Russia. However, rainbow trout are also well-established throughout Europe, where they were introduced as an ornamental fish in Germany before being introduced for food purposes in Switzerland and Austria. 

  • North America

The USA has the most native populations of rainbow trout. They were initially described as a member of the salmon family because they are closely related to Pacific salmon and steelhead. Originally, they lived in the Pacific coast states, Alaska, and different parts of Canada. 

The Kenai River in Alaska is home to some of the best rainbow trout fishing spots in North America, and the fishes there can reach sizes of up to five pounds. Alaska has a naturally reproducing population of rainbow trout in many rivers and small alpine lakes. Rainbow trout usually spawn in spring and autumn. They adapt well in shallow weedy ponds or small creeks with clear water, where food is plentiful, and water is not warm.

  • Where are rainbow trout found in Canada?

In Canada, rainbow trout have a concentration in Manitoba through the East Coast, including Quebec, Newfoundland, Ontario, and New Brunswick states.

  • Southeast Asia

Rainbow trout also have a considerable population in various Southeast Asian countries, including Japan and China. In Japan, rainbow trout are native to all major islands, such as Hokkaido and Honshu. In China, trout are usually found in farms for food and recreational purposes.

The rainbow trout are also found on the eastern coast of Russia and go by the name The Kamchatkan rainbow trout.

Does Europe have Rainbow Trout?

Rainbow trout is not native to Europe but rather introduced there for sport fishing. Since then, it has become hugely popular with anglers. Many local populations have sprung up throughout European waters, thanks to intentional or accidental releases by anglers. They have spread to various eastern and western European countries like France, Norway, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, and even Iceland. For a more in-depth report of rainbow trout in Europe, check out this PDF.