Rainbow Trout are native to the Pacific drainages of the western United States, but through extensive trout management during much of the 20th century has become the most widely distributed and abundant trout species in Tennessee.
Rainbows were originally introduced into Tennessee in the late 1880s when logging practices destroyed native Brook Trout habitat.
Wild populations are now found in about 300 streams across East Tennessee. Rainbow Trout spawn in late winter and their juvenile hatch out in early spring. They can tolerate temperature slightly warmer than Brook Trout, preferring water temperatures below 70° F.
Identification: Body olive to silver in color. Small black spots throughout the body that extend into the bottom of the tail. Pink streak along middle of the body.
State Record: 18 lbs, 8 oz. (Private Pond)
Tennessee Angler Recognition Program: minimum 24 inches
Fishing Tips: Rainbow Trout eat insects, crayfish, fish, and fish eggs. They are susceptible to a wide variety of tackle. Fly-fishing with streamers, wet and dry flies can be effective. Spinning and bait casting tackle includes small spinners, spoons, worms, and hellgramites.
[This information from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency: Trout Fishing in Tennessee]