Golden trout

General information about golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), a cold-water fish species in Alberta.



  • Golden trout are the most colourful of trout, with an olive-green back and bright red-to-gold sides and belly.
  • In the spring spawning season, the colours are extremely intense.


  • Golden trout are native only to a few small lakes and streams at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada of California.
  • In 1959, they were introduced into a few lakes in the mountains of southwestern Alberta.

Natural History


  • Golden trout are very specialized for their high mountain lake environment, and do not do well in lower-elevation streams and lakes.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Spawning takes place from early June to the middle of July in southwestern Alberta, and from late June to late July in west-central parts of the province.
  • Golden trout spawn in small mountain streams. Occasional lake spawning has occurred for this species, but this is rare.
  • Female golden trout dig nests, also known as a redds, and deposit eggs there for the males to fertilize. Fertilized eggs are covered with gravel by the females.
  • Eggs incubate in the nest for more than a month before hatching.

Growth Process

  • The short growing season of the high mountain lakes does not allow this trout to grow fast, and so most golden trout are small.

Conservation and Management


Golden trout are classified as Exotic/Alien in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Golden trout are cold-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:

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