Would you like a side of invasion with your broiled rainbow trout?
Rainbow trout threatens native salmonids, brook trout and Atlantic salmon
What comes to mind when you hear the words rainbow trout? Perhaps you think of a delicious Sausage-Stuffed Rainbow Trout dinner, or if you're a kid, Rainbow Fish and Ruby meet their long lost cousin. But, have you ever thought of rainbow trout as a threat, a “bully” towards native species of fish? Of course not! After all, they’re rainbow right? Doesn’t that mean they’re just kind and happy? Well, rainbow trout aren’t all lollipops and cotton candy. In fact, they are an invasive non-native species in Canada, threatening our very own salmonids, brook trout and Atlantic salmon.
Rainbow trout is a species of fish that is native to the Pacific drainages of North America. They are included in the top 100 of the world's worst invasive species. After many years of introductions and transfers, the current distribution of rainbow trout now covers most of North America and many other parts of the world. Fish culturists learned how to artificially breed rainbows and they were first introduced in a California stream in 1872. They were then introduced in lakes and streams that were devoid of fish or that contained only "rough" fish. Rainbow trout were also introduced in streams that contained other, native, species of trout.
You may be thinking, so what? They’re just fish! What harm will they do? Well, rainbow trout compete for the same resources as many other species of fish such as food and habitat. For example, it is a potential threat to the native salmonids of Trout River, including the possibility that rainbow trout may be successfully spawning in the Trout River watershed. Atlantic salmon stocks in Trout River are presently at low levels and their habitat is vulnerable to intrusion by an exotic species. Large rainbow trout of comparable size to large adult brook trout can be aggressive competitors for...