Fraser Valley Rainbow Trout

June 14, 2023
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Origin: Unlike the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s other strains, Fraser Valley rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a purely domesticated variety. The strain was first developed during the 1940s at a trout hatchery in Tacoma, Washington. The Society purchased broodstock in the 1960s, and moved the fish to our Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. In 2011, we relocated the broodstock to the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan. The stock is often referred to as the “McCleary strain” in honour of Ed McCleary, who was a key figure in establishing the program.

Habitat: This strain is typically used to stock urban lakes for our “Fishing in the City” program. Because their fast growth rate allows them to reach a significant size by late summer and fall, Fraser Valley rainbow are also used extensively in lakes that are prone to winter kill. Critical in waters where there’s the potential for interbreeding with wild fish, only sterile Fraser Valley progeny are stocked.

Description: Fraser Valley rainbow are heavily spotted above and below the lateral line, and on the caudal (tail) fin. They grow quickly and will typically have a large girth compared to other strains. Raised on an artificial diet at the hatchery, once released they adopt a wild-strain diet of various invertebrates. They are most successful when stocked into productive lakes and can get quite big.

Fishing: Fraser Valley rainbows are extremely aggressive, and aren’t generally wary of predators. As a result, they can be caught on a wide variety of fishing gear, and are an ideal target for kids and inexperienced anglers. Although they aren’t known for jumping, the size and strength of Fraser Valley rainbows can make for a very good fight.