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Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Characteristics

prominent pink-red horizontal stripe along each side; sides and back, dorsal and caudal fins marked with many small black spots; 7-12 inch fish are stocked into streams, fish over 10 pounds are extrememly rare in Iowa

Distribution

Rainbow Trout Distribution

coldwater streams of northeast Iowa

Foods

aquatic insects and their larvae, small mollusks and fish

State Record

19 pounds, 8 ounces - French Creek, Allamakee County, July 1984 - Jack Renner, Waterloo, Iowa

Expert Tip

use small jigs (1/16 - 1/32 ounce) fished in the deeper part of the pool for exciting rainbow fishing in Iowa

Details

The rainbow trout is not native to Iowa, originating west of the Rocky Mountains from southern California to Alaska. Perpetuation of rainbow trout populations in this state depends completely on hatchery production with no known natural reproduction occurring in our streams. All rainbows are presently raised in hatchery confinement to catchable size, and distribution is controlled in a predetermined schedule based mostly on angler use of a stream -- heavily used streams are stocked more often than lesser used streams. High water temperature is the most limiting factor affecting trout distribution in Iowa, and stocking is terminated in streams when water temperature exceeds 70 degrees F.

Rainbow trout are olive to greenish-blue over most of the upper body, fading to a silvery-white along the belly. They are most easily separated from the other trout species by the strikingly prominent pink-red horizontal stripe that extends down each side of the fish. The sides, back, dorsal and caudal fins are profusely spotted with small black spots continuing to the distal end of the caudal fin. Like most trout, there are sharp teeth on the vomer in the roof of the mouth. Scale counts along the lateral line range from 135 to 155.

Rainbow trout do not reproduce in Iowa streams. Two strains of rainbow trout, fall and winter spawners, are reared at the Manchester Trout Hatchery. Fall strain fish spawn during September and October, and the winter strain spawns during January. Both strains are semi-domesticated fish. Egg production from mature female rainbows is fairly constant, a 3 year-old fish weighing 4 pounds will produce about 2,500 eggs; a 4 year-old fish weighing 8 pounds yields 5,000 eggs; and a 5 year-old, 12 to 15-pound fish gives close to 10,000 eggs. Eggs are removed from the females by hand stripping since the trout will not spawn naturally in cement raceways.

After spawning, the eggs are incubated for 30 days at a water temperature of 50 degrees F. Growth, when on a full-food ration of 1 to 10 percent of the body weight per day, averages about three-fourths of an inch per month. The amount of food supplied to the fish is used in the culture process to control growth. Feeding schedules are designed to produce a one-half pound, 10-11 inch fish, within 17 to 24 months after spawning. Rainbow trout adapt very well to the hatchery environment and are disease resistant; thus, they are the most economical to raise.

Rainbow trout inhabit the open water habitat in streams more than the other trout species. They also tend to orient in a vertical posture within the water column.

The diet of released rainbows is highly variable, with some fish feeding very little on natural foods while others seemingly taking nearly anything that drifts by them. A large part of the diet is comprised of mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and their larvae, small mollusks and fishes.

Rainbow trout will continue to be our most numerically important fish for stocking as catchable trout. They are readily caught by fishermen and so provide the greatest amount of fishing recreation for the least cost.


Return

Present in these Iowa water bodies:

Lake/Stream County Location Acres/Length
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake Story North side of Ames, west of Grand Avenue/Highway 69. 137.00
Sand Lake Marshall On the Northeast edge of Marshalltown 95.00
Sand Lake Johnson 1.5 miles south of Hwy 6 on Gilbert Street in Iowa City. 90.00
Lake of the Hills Scott .25 miles west of Davenport (CCB) 55.00
Prairie Park Fishery Linn 1.5 miles SSE of Cargill on Otis Road, along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids 42.00
Bacon Creek Lake Woodbury east edge of Sioux City 34.00
Yellow River Allamakee T96N, R6W, S3 to T96N, R4W, S24 25.00
Lake Petoka Polk northeast edge of Bondurant 22.00
Big Lake (Including Gilbert's Pond) Pottawattamie North 25th street exit off interstate 29. Nash Blvd to Big Lake Road. Northeast Council Bluffs. 21.00
Blue Pit Cerro Gordo southwest edge of Mason City 15.00
Ankeny Lake (DMACC) Polk Ankeny, DMACC Campus 13.80
Banner Lake (south) Warren 4 1/2 miles north of Indianola 12.00
Saganaush Pond Pottawattamie On grounds of Western Historic Trails Center in western Council Bluffs, accessed via Richard Downing Ave. 12.00
Paint Creek Allamakee Located in Yellow River State Forest, 3 miles west of Harpers Ferry off of State Forest Road or CR B25. 11.00
Waterloo Creek Allamakee Streams runs through Dorchester along Waterloo Creek Drive and Highway 76. 10.50
North Prairie Lake Black Hawk SW edge of Cedar Falls 10.00
Scharnberg Pond Clay 3m E Everly 10.00
Heritage Pond Dubuque N edge of Dubuque 10.00
Wilson Lake Lee 4 miles east of Donnellson 8.00
Maquoketa River (trout portion) Clayton The Upper Maquoketa River from Joy Springs downstream to Backbone Lake contains trout year-round. The area 3 miles southwest of Strawberry Point off 400th is stocked with catchable fish. 8.00
Bloody Run Creek Clayton Located 2 miles west of Marquette off of Highway 18. 6.50
North Bear Creek Winneshiek Located 2.5 miles northeast of Highlandville. 6.00
South Bear Creek Winneshiek Located at Highlandville. 5.20
Trout River Winneshiek Located 5 miles southeast of Decorah off of 133rd Avenue. 5.00
Sny Magill Creek Clayton Located in the Sny Magill Wildlife Management Area, 3 miles southwest of McGregor along Keystone Road. 5.00
Coldwater Creek Winneshiek Located 3 miles northwest of Bluffton off of Coldwater Creek Road. 4.00
Little Paint Allamakee Located in Yellow River State Forest, 3 miles west of Harpers Ferry just off of State Forest Road or CR B25. 3.00
Coon Creek Winneshiek Located in Coon Creek Wildlife Management Area, 7 miles northeast of Decorah. 2.60
Otter Creek Fayette Located 3 miles southeast of West Union. 2.50
Wapsi River Trout Section Mitchell Located 0.5 mile west of McIntire. 2.50
Fountain Springs Delaware 2.5 miles northeast of Greeley along Oak Road. Most of the fishery lies within Fountain Springs County Park 2.30
Trout Run Winneshiek Located on the south side of Decorah off Trout Run Road. 2.20
Spring Branch Delaware 3 miles east-southeast of Manchester off 205th Avenue. Parking available near highway 20 overpass and Manchester Fish Hatchery 2.20
Turtle Creek Mitchell Located about 1/2 mile north of St. Ansgar off of Highway 218. 2.20
Upper Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque near Swiss Valley Nature Center, just off Swiss Valley Road 2.10
North Cedar Creek Clayton Located 3 miles west of McGregor off of CR B60 or Ivory Road. 2.00
Clear Creek Allamakee Stream runs along Highway 9 through Lansing. Public angling access is at the County Park located off South Road Drive. 2.00
Dalton Lake Jackson 1m SE Preston 2.00
Brush Creek Jackson Located 2 miles norteast of Andrew just south of 261st street. 1.90
Buck Creek Clayton Located 3 miles northeast of Garnavillo. 1.70
Hickory Creek Allamakee Located 1 mile southwest of Volney off of Hickory Creek Road. 1.50
Grannis Creek Fayette Located in Grannis Creek Wildlife Management Area, 3.5 miles southeast of Fayette off of Grannis Road. 1.50
Patterson Creek Allamakee Stream located 4 miles northwest of Waukon. 1.40
Richmond Springs Delaware 3 miles south of Strawberry Point. Located entirely within Backbone State Park. Closest to north park gate access. 1.40
Wexford Creek Allamakee Located 5 miles north of Harpers Ferry on the Great River Road or CR X52. 1.40
Little Turkey River Delaware 3 miles east of Colesburg in Hoffman Wildlife Managment Area off Hubbard Road 1.20
Bear Creek Fayette Located 6 miles southeast of Fayette off of Kornhill Road or CR C24. Access from 128th Street. 1.20
West Canoe Creek Winneshiek Located 5.5 miles north of Decorah off CR W34. 1.00
Turkey River Clayton Located 6 miles northwest of Elkader at Big Spring Hatchery. 1.00
Environmental Discovery Park North Pond Muscatine Muscatine CCB, E of Muscatine 1.00
Mink Creek Fayette Located on private property 1.5 miles north of Wadena, access on Bighorn Road. 0.90
Twin Bridges Delaware Just south of Highway 3 about 5.5 miles west of Colesburg in Twin Bridges County Park 0.90
Big Mill Creek Jackson Located on Big Mill Wildlife Management Area, 4.5 miles west of Bellevue just south of Mill Creek Road. 0.90
Lower Swiss Valley Creek Dubuque Located 3 miles south of Dubuque in Swiss Valley Park just off Swiss Valley Road 0.80
Glovers Creek Fayette Access in Echo Valley State Park, about 3 miles southeast of West Union. 0.80
Spring Creek Mitchell Located on the west edge of Orchard. 0.80
Joy Springs Clayton South on Alpha Ave, off Highway 3 about 3 miles west of Strawberry Point in Joy Springs County Park. 0.80
Little Mill Creek Jackson Located on Little Mill Wildlife Managment Area and private property 2 miles west of Bellevue, with parking south off 216th street. 0.70
Bankston Creek Dubuque Just south of Park Hollow Road, 3 miles north of Bankston in Bankston County Park 0.60
Bigalk Creek Howard Located 7 miles northeast of Cresco. 0.60
Baileys Ford Delaware 3 miles southeast of Manchester - follow signage from Jefferson Road. 0.60
South Cedar Creek Clayton Located 2 miles south of Garnavillo and may be accessed from Jigsaw Road. 0.50
Twin Springs Winneshiek Located on the west side of Decorah in Twin Springs City Park. 0.50
Bohemian Creek Winneshiek Located about 1.5 miles east of Protivin. 0.30
Monastery Creek Dubuque Monastery Creek can be accessed through the Dubuque County Swiss Valley Nature Preserve about 4 miles SW of Dubuque off of Swiss Valley Rd. 0.20

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