The leaping ability of the rainbow is legendary. A hooked rainbow almost always skyrockets from the water, often a half-dozen times, before coming to the net. Rainbows are less wary than brown trout and more willing to bite. They are a favorite of fly fishermen, but can also be caught on spinners, spoons, plugs, and a wide variety of baits ranging from worms to small marshmallows.

Eating Habits

The diet consists mainly of immature and adult insects, plankton, crustaceans, fish eggs, and small fish. But rainbows consume far fewer fish than brown trout. Their habit of taking adult insects on the surface makes dry-fly fishing particularly effective.

Age & Growth

Growth is highly variable, depending on the habitat. A typical stream-dwelling rainbow grows to about 1 pound in four years. But in a large lake where food is plentiful, a rainbow could reach 15 pounds in the same amount of time. Rainbows may live up to 11 years, but the usual life span is 4 to 6 years.

World Record

1993 - 31 pounds, 6 ounces, a landlocked rainbow caught in Lake Michigan.