Getting to know your various trout found in Oregon's lakes, and waterways.
I hear a lot of the time, from quite a few people, “What kind of trout is THAT?!” Well, in southern Oregon, there are a few species that look wildly different. Rainbow, Lake, Brown, and more, all are of the same species of Salmonids, but they look completely different. So, lets go over what these look like.
These fascinatingly beautiful fish, are some of the brightest yellow trout I have laid eyes upon in the borders of Oregon They can get up to 12 inches long in rivers normally, but they have been known to get much bigger when they are transported to Lakes. At the present, only a couple of lakes are reported to hold the elusive creatures.
These are probably the most common trout in all of Oregon. If you catch a stocked trout, It’s a rainbow. Nice, firm, pink meat is wrapped in a very pretty rainbow skin. These common trout have reached gargantuan sizes in lakes where food is plentiful. Rivers average 1 – 5 pounds, while lake Rainbows have been recorded 20 pounds and higher!
You ask any fisherman on the river what his or her fondest memory of a catch for trout is, and they’ll probably tell you, “Without a doubt, it’s the Cutthroat.” These fish are currently on the threatened species list, so they are strictly catch and release, but these guys fight like demons. They can range anywhere from 6 inches, all the way up to 40 inches long if the food and conditions are right.
The Brown trout is definitely one of the bigger boys in the water when it comes to trout, so be ready with the bigger tackle if your going to try to land a lunker one of these! They can reach anywhere from 2 pounds, all the way to an arm busting 40 pound Brown! These guys are also in imported fish, with brothers and sisters in many parts of the world.
Another Lunker worthy trout is the Bull trout, or also fondly known as the “Dolly Varden”. These beasts are also endangered, so it’s strictly catch and release, but Anglers seek them out for the memory of holding such a rare and memory worthy fish. Fish have been caught and recorded with lengths up to 41 inches, and weighing in at 32 pounds.
The brook is yet another elusive trout, hiding sparsely in a few backwoods lakes and rivers. These fish are usually stocked as they aren’t a naturally occurring fish in Oregon. They can range from 10 inches, up to 26 inches! These are more of a medium size fish, topping the scales at just over 6 pounds maximum.
Here we come to one of the biggest trout species that doesn’t go to the ocean and back. The Lake Trout, or otherwise known as the mighty Mackinaw. These bad boys are monsterous. They hit like a brick, and run hard. The largest Lake Trout ever caught was just over 100 POUNDS and 59 INCHES LONG. Average sizes range from 15 – 40 pounds, with lengths of up to 36 inches. (I’m gonna need a bigger boat…)
Red Banded Trout:
This Eastern Oregon trout brings many anglers to it’s known habitats. These highly prized game fish are on the decline, however, ODFW states that conservation projects are in the works. They average 10-12 inches long, and can weigh around 1 pound.
The last fish to the line up is possibly the newest. The Tiger trout. So name for it’s unique tiger style markings, and extremely aggressive tendencies. These trout are a sterile hybrid of both the Brook trout, and the Brown trout. These are being introduced into Lakes such as Diamond Lake to combat issues with anglers introducing other invasive fish species as bait. These are still new enough that no real data from reliable sources has come forward about possible max weight and size. As like the cutthroat, these are strictly a catch and release type of trout only.
Alan "Grizzly" Boyd Suire
ADMINISTRATOR • EDITORAlan or as he prefers, Grizzly, is constantly out in the outdoors as much as his schedule will let him. He loves all the aspects of the outdoors; Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, are but a few. Join him for a look at hikes, fishing, hunting, photography, and other outdoor sports. He is,an Administrator & Editor of Southern Oregon Outdoors on Facebook, Scanner Group LLC (50,000+ on Facebook Groups in the area) and this site (Great Oregon Outdoors). Connect with Grizzly here. “Actio Enim Amore Patriae”