The Pacific trouts and the genus Salmo can be distinguished from other salmonids by black spots on the head and body and 7-12 anal fin rays. Trouts are usually freshwater species but all Salmo and Oncorhynchus species have both freshwater and sea-run populations.
Rainbow trout is native to western North America (northern Mexico to Alaska) and has been successfully introduced worldwide in temperate and high-altitude tropical zones. Introductions were originally to create SPORTFISHING; however, more recently AQUACULTURE introductions are common. Cultured rainbow stocks have been held in captivity for more than 40 generations. These trout in captivity have a rapid growth rate; take well to crowding in ponds, raceways and tanks; are fairly disease resistant; and are in great public demand both for food and sport. They are a popular sport fish because of fighting and jumping characteristics and because they readily take a shallow water lure and artificial fly. Sea-run rainbow trout are called steelhead, and they are most sought after in rivers when returning to spawn. Steelhead grow up to 18 kg and are a very strong sport fish. However, at present many BC steelhead populations are dangerously depleted. There is an increasing demand for steelhead in aquaculture.
The golden trout (O. Mykiss aquabonita) is a subspecies of the rainbow trout. It is native to California and was introduced to Canada into some high-altitude lakes in southwestern Alberta.
Cutthroat trout, in Canada, is restricted to BC and southwestern Alberta. There are 2 subspecies: coastal cutthroat, with sea-run and freshwater forms, and freshwater Yellowstone or mountain cutthroat that do not go to sea. The coastal cutthroat ranges throughout coastal BC and are larger (up to 8 kg) than Yellowstone cutthroat. In Canada, Yellowstone cutthroat is restricted to southeastern BC and southwestern Alberta. Both subspecies are important sport fish, and stocking programs exist to assist in maintaining populations.
Author E.D. LANE and W. PENNELL
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
Learn all about Atlantic salmon at this Fédération Québécoise pour le Saumon Atlantique website.
Aquaculture Atlas of Canada
Find out about Canada’s growing aquaculture industry in all ten provinces and in the Yukon. Features profiles of selected species.
Fishes of Canada's National Capital Region
A comprehensive guide to fishes found in the National Capital Region of Canada. Scroll down the list of scientific and English names and click on the appropriate link for detailed biological information including species’ ranges across Canada and illustrations. Also, check out the extensive online glossary of terms related to fish and other vertebrates. This site was developed by Brian W. Coad, an ichthyologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
A Tribute to Joseph Schieser Nelson, 1937–2011
This tribute to award-winning Canadian ichthyologist Joseph Schieser Nelson highlights his academic acumen and adroit political skills in the world of fish biology. From The Canadian Field Naturalist. Note: download the PDF document.
An interview with renowned fish biologist Dr. Joseph Schieser Nelson about issues concerning the regulation of exotic species and the discovery and naming of new fish species. From innovationalberta.com.
Something You Might Not Know About Canada: Trout Fishing
Actor Manoj Sood reveals the origins of the brown trout population in Calgary's Bow River. From Strombo.com.