One of the more popular sportfish for U.S. anglers, they put up a good fight and are also rather tasty. Rainbow trout require waters with a high oxygen content and prefer water temperatures to be 70 degrees F or less. They can survive in water up to 80 degrees F but will stop feeding once the water temperature exceeds 70 degrees. In the southern US most bodies of water at the lower elevations become too hot to allow rainbow trout to breed and so must be stocked each year.
In streams, rainbows are usually found in front of or behind objects in the flow of water facing the current where they can lie in wait for food washed down the stream. Other good places are right up against the stream bank and at the tail end of pools. In lakes and ponds during the summer they will usually be in the deeper water near the bottom at 4 to 12 feet. At night they will tend to move to shallow water to feed.
Suitable live baits include earthworms, nightcrawlers, meal worms and minnows. Artificial lures include inline spinners 1/4 oz or smaller, spoons, curly tail jigs, dry flies, nymphs, streamers. In terms of soft plastic curly tail jigs, the colors that I have had the best success with are white and black. Other colors such as chartruese and yellow do not seem to be as effective. In terms of spinners and spoons, rainbows seem to respond better to those that are silver rather than to those that are gold colored. When fishing with artificials alway use a slow retrieve especially in stained water.