Rainbow trout is the most popular game fish in Montana. They were introduced to the state from various hatchery stocks in 1889 and have been adapted to almost every suitable habitat.
Angerls fishing with Fins and Feathers Guide Service can expect to encounter Rainbow Trout while fly fishing in Montana. They are common to all of the rivers where our Bozeman fly fishing guide service operates.
The rainbow trout of the upper Kootenai River drainage are native to the state, which is a group of natives known as Fish of Special Concern.
The introduction of rainbow trout has resulted in a significant decrease in the range of the native cutthroat trout population due to hybridization and competition.
Rainbow trout thrive in various habitats, including ponds, reservoirs, lakes, and streams. Different strains of rainbow trout are used for different purposes, just like breeds of cattle. Over the past century, the state has stocked hundreds of millions of rainbow trout in state waters.
However, today, policies have changed, and rainbow trout are stocked primarily in lakes and reservoirs, but not in streams.
The state record for rainbow trout is more than 33 pounds, and fish weighing up to 10 pounds are common in some of the most productive waters.
Rainbow trout feed efficiently on plankton, aquatic and terrestrial insects, and occasionally smaller fishes.
They usually spawn in early spring, around April or May, in running water, and can maintain themselves if the habitat is not degraded.