Freshwater, brackish, or marine waters of temperate zones. The anadromous form, called steelhead, spawn and complete their early development in freshwater mountain streams, then migrate to spend their adult life in the ocean. In freshwater, they prefer cool water but have been known to tolerate water temperatures up to 24°C (native climates have water temperatures around 12°C in the summer). Productive streams have a good mixture of riffles and pools and overhanging vegetation for shade. Most importantly, they require gravel beds to lay their eggs, and therefore, are sensitive to sedimentation and channel scouring. Juvenile trout prefer protective cover and low velocity water and have been known to be swept away and killed in water that is too fast. Since they are native to the western U.S., then tend to be found in coastal streams and rivers which naturally have reduced flow in summer months.
Range elevation: 0 to 3000 m.
Range depth: 10 to 200 m.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; saltwater or marine ; freshwater
Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; lakes and ponds; rivers and streams; temporary pools; coastal ; brackish water
- Behnke, R. 1992. Native Trout of Western North America. Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society.
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. 2005. "Life History Notes: Rainbow Trout" (On-line). Accessed October 09, 2005 at http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/Fishing/aquanotes-fishid/rtrout.htm.
- Gall, G., P. Crandell. 1992. "Oncorhynchus mykiss Rainbow Trout" (On-line). Fishbase. Accessed October 07, 2005 at http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=239.