Coloration of Rainbow Trout
Coloration of Rainbow Trout
As to the distinctive coloration of the rainbow, William C. Harris whose writings, both as a practical angler and ichthyologist, on the natural history of game fish are authoritative and whom I have quoted above in connection with the brown trout, says: "There are one species and five subspecies of the rainbows, the typical form being known as the rainbow or Coast Range trout (Salmo irideus, specific name from the Latin, 'a rainbow'). It is a large, robust, short, and deep fish, growing to a weight of thirteen pounds in the Williamson River, and up to thirty pounds when sea-run. The head is short, somewhat convex, and 'obtusely ridged above'; mouth slightly smaller than in other trout, and the eyes are somewhat larger; the teeth on the roof of the mouth are in two irregular series; the tail fin is slightly forked, the body, sides, and ventral fins irregularly but profusely marked with black spots, those on the tail being smaller than those on the body and on other fins.
"The coloration is bluish above and whitish on the sides, which also, in both sexes, have a broad lateral band with reddish blotches, the sea-run specimens being plain silvery. If an angler chances to catch a rainbow in Eastern waters, it will probably be where the Eastern brook trout is also found, and the 'red-sides' can easily be distinguished from it by the lateral band, more or less reddish, always on the sides of both sexes, and by the presence of numerous black irregular spots located on the body, head, and fins; those on the caudal fin being somewhat smaller than the spots elsewhere. The brook trout (fontinalis) has red spots; the rainbows do not have them."
The above description says that the rainbow is a "deep" fish, and that the "mouth is somewhat smaller than in other trout." Deep, here, is another way of saying narrow—the rainbow is very thin through the body, taking a half-pound specimen as an example—and it should be said also that the mouth is noticeably smaller than that of either the brown or native. While there is no room for argument as to the fighting qualities of the rainbow, in the writer's opinion and that of many other anglers the rainbow as an edible fish is not equal to either the native brook or brown trout. Another noticeable thing about the rainbow is the quickness with which the coloration fades after the fish is taken from the water; in a very short time the lateral band, the "rainbow," will almost entirely disappear, leaving only a faint suggestion of its natural beauty.
Camp, Samuel Granger. The Fine Art of Fishing. New York: Outing Pub., 1911. Print.
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