Rainbow trout is very closely related to salmon, with the main difference being they are most commonly raised in freshwater on land based farms. These fish are well suited to farming, with fast growth and good environmental tolerances. Within the U.S. the production techniques of the trout farming industry are well established, resulting in efficient operations.

This ocean-friendly seafood choice tastes like a delicacy even though it isn't priced like one. Rainbow trout can be used interchangeably with salmon, although its flavor is more delicate and the flesh is more tender. Try pan-seared U.S. farmed rainbow trout with hush puppies and roasted green tomato salsa, or wild onion and lemon stuffed U.S.-farmed rainbow trout with balsamic glaze.

Also known as:

Rainbow trout, golden trout, hardhead, redband, salmon trout

Availability:

Year-round

Product forms:

Fresh and frozen, fillets, whole, smoked or canned; caviar from rainbow trout also available

Shopping tips:

Farm-raised rainbow trout is consistently high-quality, which makes buying decisions very easy. The flesh may be white, pink or orange and will turn paler when cooked. Buy U.S. farm-raised rainbow trout when possible.

Substitutions:

Rainbow trout can be substituted for any salmon. Remember that it is a smaller fish, which means it will cook more quickly.

Recipes:

Pan-seared U.S. farmed rainbow trout with hush puppies and roasted green tomato salsa

Wild onion and lemon stuffed U.S. farmed rainbow trout with balsamic glaze

Rainbow Trout farming:

U.S. farm-raised rainbow trout are most commonly raised in raceways, which are essentially artificial streams. More.

Conservation notes:

U.S. farmed rainbow trout is considered an ocean-friendly seafood choice because it is farmed in a manner that does not harm the environment. More.
Last updated: August 2008

 

Trout Farming

U.S. farm-raised rainbow trout are most commonly raised in raceways, which are essentially artificial streams. Most trout farms rely on gravity to pull water from natural streams into the concrete raceways. The water runs through a series of raceways and is often filtered to remove waste products before being released back into the natural stream. These are known as flow-through systems. While most trout farms rely on these flow-through systems, some are beginning to use ponds or recirculating systems to clean and reuse water.

Rainbow trout are farmed throughout the United States, but nearly 75% are raised in Idaho.

 

Conservation Notes

U.S. farmed rainbow trout is considered an environmentally friendly seafood choice. Some trout farms may impact the environment immediately around the farm. When water leaves trout farms, it is returned to local streams and lakes. This water may be over-enriched with nutrients leftover from trout feed and waste. If there are too many extra nutrients in the water, the local water quality may be affected, leading to increased algae growth in neighboring ponds and streams. U.S. trout farms are monitored and regulated in order to ensure that this does not become a problem. Therefore choosing U.S. farmed rainbow trout ensures an environmentally responsible seafood choice. There are, of course, individual farms in other countries that also have high environmental standards, look for those products that highlight their environmentally responsible actions.