Blackwater River Rainbow Trout

June 14, 2023
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Origin: Originating in the Ilgachuz Range northwest of Quesnel in central British Columbia, the Blackwater River stretches 280 kilometres, and eventually drains into the Fraser River. The broodstock for the Blackwater River strain of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are collected from Dragon Lake, on the outskirts of Quesnel.

Habitat: Adapted to rivers, Blackwater trout in lakes tend to prefer shallow shoal areas that mimic a stream. They thrive in environments where they’re in competition with other species, and are more aggressive than many strains of trout. As a result, they are better suited for lakes with non-salmonid fish populations or a high proportion of shoal area. While Blackwater rainbow trout can be stocked into many different types of lakes, because of their potential migratory nature, they are usually stocked into lakes with no accessible outlet streams.

Description: The Blackwater strain is often more densely spotted from head to tail than the Pennask strain. They typically have a high concentration of spots above the lateral line, a body-spotting pattern that’s common in coastal rainbow trout. Blackwater rainbows grow quickly in lakes with varied sources of food and can get very large. Their girth is often much thicker than other wild strains.

Fishing: Blackwater trout typically prefer large prey like dragonfly nymphs, snails, and molluscs. After their first year, they may begin feeding on small, non-salmonid fish. Once they’ve reached maturity, they demonstrate a strong preference for feeding on fish. Their voracious, shallow-water foraging behaviour allows anglers to target them more easily than many other strains. Combined with the strain’s rapid growth, this makes Blackwater rainbows a favourite among knowledgeable anglers.