- Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss
- Found in Illinois: In selected stocked streams and small lakes
- State Average: 12.1"
- State Record: 31 lbs/6.72 oz (1993)
- Best Lures: night crawlers, spawn, alewives, flies, squids, spoons and plugs
- Best Lakes (based on average size): Clear Lake-Kickapoo, Hennepin Canal
Habitat: Rainbow trout are a coldwater species that prefer sediment with cobble, boulders, deep pools, and overhead cover. The rainbow trout are native only west of the Rocky Mountains from Southern California to Alaska. Having rainbow trout as a sportfish in Illinois depends entirely on hatchery production. High water temperature (exceeding 70°F) is the most limiting factor affecting where trout can survive in Illinois.
Trout are stocked twice a year in selected waters in Illinois. Site listings here.
Feeding and Habits: The diet of released rainbows is highly variable, with some fish feeding very little on natural foods while others seemingly take nearly anything that drifts by them. In the wild, a large part of the diet is comprised of mayflies, caddis flies, stoneflies and their larvae, small mollusks and fishes. Hatchery-raised fish are often less selective and will feed on crayfish, frogs insects, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, and corn.
Reproduction: Natural reproduction does not occur in Illinois streams. All rainbows are raised in hatcheries until they are large enough for stocking.
What is a golden trout?
A golden trout results from a genetic anomaly, and contrary to popular belief, this is not an albino, but simply a rainbow trout with different coloration. In the wild they are weeded out early by predation, but in a hatchery situation they are protected and do well. Since we stock trout in Illinois from the hatcheries, you have a good chance of catching a "golden."