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Rainbow Trout Fishing in Canada

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The Rainbow Trout is a trout and species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. This is a fish that prefers cold freshwater but a percentage of them will migrate to saltwater and, once there, are known as Steelhead Trout. They are a sought after fish for sports fishing but especially for consumption due to their meats soft, white texture, mild taste, and high level of Omega-3 fatty acids. An average Rainbow Trout is around 40 cm (16 in) and weighs between 1-3.5 kg (2-8 lb). As of writing, the record rainbow trout caught in Canada weighed in at 21 kg (48lb) and was caught in Saskatchewan in 2009.

Beautiful Rainbow Trout caught with Bow River Hookers in Alberta, Canada
Beautiful Rainbow Trout caught with Bow River Hookers - Bow River, Alberta, Canada

Where to Find Rainbow Trout

The rainbow trout is native to lakes and rivers in North America west of the Rocky Mountains. However, it has been introduced to bodies of water all over the world because of its popularity as a sports fish. This is true for Canada too…in fact, the only area of the world that does not have an active Rainbow Trout population is Antarctica.

Understanding Rainbow Trout Behavior

Rainbow trout are carnivores that won't eat any vegetation found growing in the water. Rather, they prefer to feast on insects, small fish, crayfish, leeches and mussels. However, though they do not eat the vegetation, Rainbow Trout do use said vegetation for shelter and to assist them in catching their prey. Rainbow Trout feed most feverishly after the ice melt when they break free of the ice ceiling they have endured for months of the frigid winter and actively seek out food.

The fact that they are hungriest after the ice melt means the best time to fish for Rainbow Trout is early season. They will be actively searching for food after months of inactivity under the freezing ice-covered water. At this time of year, rainbows give serious chase to attractor flies and lures, making them a good opening-day fish option.

How to Fish for Rainbow Trout

Look in shallow water or shoal areas at depths of ten feet or less. That is where aquatic invertebrates become active following the ice melt and emerge soon after the first few warm days, triggering the trout to start feeding. In fast-moving water, use Mepps and Roostertail spinners and Crocodile spoons. Use bright, large lures in murkier water and copper or silvery smaller spinners in clear water. Vary the retrieve until you find the right speed to entice a strike.

When fishing Canadian lakes for rainbows, try flies such as chironomid pupa and larva imitations, as well as leech patterns. Weighted lines and good strong leaders are often needed to get the fly down to where the trout are hanging out. For spin fishers, the best lake lures include Flatfish, Quickfish, Dick Nite spoons and Mepps spinners.

Depending on what's allowed in the region being fished, roe and worms can also be very effective. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations.

Fishing Tips for Rainbow Trout in Ponds

Difference between Rainbow Trout and Steelhead

Top Fishing Trips for Rainbow Trout


Squatchy Waters Fly Fishing
Squatchy Waters Fly Fishing
Our mission is to earn your trust, respect and repeat business | Experience some of the best fly fishing for Brown, Rainbow, Cutthroat & Bull Trout surrounded by our beautiful Rocky Mountains and Foothills
5.0 out of 5 9 Google Reviews
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $300 to $399 Per Person
Package: Mountain Walk & Wade Fly Fishing Trip
Package: Bow River Float Fly Fishing Trip
Kenauk Nature
Kenauk Nature
245 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
Thompson's Camps
Thompson's Camps
193 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,500 to $2,000 Per Person
Lost Lake Lodge
Lost Lake Lodge
112 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Streamside Outfitters
Streamside Outfitters
87 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person
Wekusko Falls Lodge
Wekusko Falls Lodge
4.7 out of 5 83 Google Reviews
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
Eagle Nest Lodge
Eagle Nest Lodge
42 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
4 - 5 Days: $2,000 to $3,000 Per Person
Gowganda Lake Lodge
Gowganda Lake Lodge
33 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $750 to $1,000 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
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Shining Tree Camp
26 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
Brennan Harbour Resort
Brennan Harbour Resort
21 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
Caribou Lodge Outfitters
Caribou Lodge Outfitters
7 Reviews - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
6 - 7 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $1,000 to $1,500 Per Person
Hopper Stone Outfitters
Hopper Stone Outfitters
1 Review - TripAdvisor® Traveler Rating
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person
Bow River Hookers
Bow River Hookers
4.4 out of 5 17 Google Reviews
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person
Fish Tales Fly Shop
Fish Tales Fly Shop
Full Day: $250 to $500 Per Person; $500 to $750 Per Person
Burt Lake Lodge
Burt Lake Lodge
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
Trout Tracker Guide Company
Trout Tracker Guide Company
Half Day: $100 to $250 Per Person
Full Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
BowCrow Fishing Adventures
BowCrow Fishing Adventures
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person; $250 to $500 Per Person
Moak Lodge and Campground
Moak Lodge and Campground
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
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Gogama Lodge
6 - 7 Days: $500 to $750 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
Hanson's Fishing Outfitters
Hanson's Fishing Outfitters
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person
PS on the Fly
PS on the Fly
Full Day: $500 to $750 Per Person; $250 to $500 Per Person
Clearwater Adventures
Clearwater Adventures
Half Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $250 to $500 Per Person; $500 to $750 Per Person
First Cast Last Pass - Fly Fishing Bow River
First Cast Last Pass - Fly Fishing Bow River
Half Day: $100 to $250 Per Person; $250 to $500 Per Person
Full Day: $250 to $500 Per Person; $500 to $750 Per Person
Blue Wing Adventures
Blue Wing Adventures
Half Day: $100 to $250 Per Person
Full Day: $250 to $500 Per Person
Three Lakes Camp
Three Lakes Camp
6 - 7 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person
4 - 5 Days: $250 to $500 Per Person