Can You Eat a Rainbow Trout?

Rainbow Trout has grown in popularity over the past 20 years, due to its value as a fun fish to catch as well as a delicious fish to eat. This beautiful species of trout is now a popular and preferred choice for many fishermen all over the world. The spawn of these fish has expanded to the cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean, in both continents of North America and Asia. Known for their “rainbow” patterns on their skin, the adult Rainbow Trout can usually be identified by a thin line that extends laterally across the fish. These lines are prominent for the breeding males.

It starts to make more sense why the taste of this fish is preferred by so many because of the fact that Rainbow Trout are members of the salmon family. Oddly enough, the diet of a Rainbow Trout consists of dining on the eggs of salmon. Rainbow Trout are fascinating predators because they have an appetite for almost anything. Certainly not picky eaters! Given the waters that they live, insects are very popular in the diet of these fish. But they also have been known to eat crawfish, minnows, other fish eggs, and even cheese! When fishing, it would make a lot of sense that some of the best baits to use are insects, such as maggots, wax-worms and earthworms.

We prepared this article to showcase some of the great benefits that Rainbow Trout can offer if added to our diet. We also wanted to spend time addressing some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to filleting, cooking and eating. We are pleased to say that this species of fish is returning in greater masses to the rivers in North America. The United States has taken the necessary steps to increase its aquaculture industry to provide better facilities for farming Rainbow Trout. This movement has helped make this fish one of the most popular fish to eat in the US, without the need for importing. It already is the most common species of trout in North America.

Is Rainbow Trout good eating?

To say that this fish is just “good” for eating, would be an understatement. Holding off on its taste for second, the health benefits are incredible compared to almost any other fish. Labeled as a “best choice” fish by both the EPA & FDA, the fillets are loaded with high levels of protein as well as essential Omega-3 fatty acids that we require for our diet. Besides that, the fish has very low levels of mercury. High mercury fish is usually not preferred for most because of the health risks that are associated with higher levels of mercury. Rainbow Trout is a terrific alternative for us to eat versus their overfished cousin, the salmon.

Focusing on taste, Rainbow Trout is a tender, flaky fish that does not taste fishy. If it does taste fishy, the fish is not fresh and should not be consumed. When cooked fully, you taste its firm texture that remains flavorful through each and every bite. Often described as a nutty taste, the flavor can slightly differ depending on where the fish was raised. Focusing on appearance, the flesh of the fish can be orange, pink or white. These range of colors are similar to the blends found on flesh of salmon fillets. For size, usually the smaller fish have the best taste. You’ll notice that as they grow bigger, the flakiness isn’t as tasty compared to when they are smaller.

Do you cook Rainbow Trout with the skin on?

Yes, you can certainly eat the skin. Before cooking, all you need to remove is the guts, gills and bloodline. Rainbow Trout should not be skinned prior to cooking. The skin provides terrific flavor when cooking the fish. Similar to the skins of most fish, the skin is rich in that desirable Omega-3 fatty acids that are so essential to our diet as humans. For fresh-caught rainbow trout, you are usually safe to eat the skin. If you want to eat the skin, just make sure that the fish has been scaled prior to cooking. I always eat the skin of my fish for the added health benefits and extra flavor. The skin will actually help preserve the structure of the flesh during the cooking process ,which can ease the experience when using a pan, oven or grill.

Can you eat Rainbow Trout every day?

One of my favorite questions is can you eat fish every day. Due to the some high levels on mercury in some types of fish, its probably not best to consume fish each and every day. However, the Rainbow Trout in unique because of its low mercury content. Higher mercury content among fish happens based on what the fish eats. If the fish consumes more food with higher levels of mercury, the fish will have more mercury in its system. Luckily, insects and crawfish contain little or no levels of mercury. Because of the Rainbow Trout’s diet, the flesh of the fish is healthier to eat.

Most health gurus would agree that eating a lower level mercury fish like Rainbow Trout is a lot more healthier than eating red meat on a daily basis. Knowing this information, I try to eat fish as much as possible. With all the great perks that Rainbow Trout offers, it is one of my preferred choices at a restaurant. While you should always consult a physician for the best advice about what is healthy for your body, most people would be just fine consuming a low-level mercury fish every day.


One of the most influential components that impacts what fish we decide to eat is what is actually sold or served in our area of the world. If the fish is not frequently sold or offered in your area, it may be too expensive to find. In society, there has been too much of an emphasis on incorporating overfished species like tuna, salmon and flounder into our diets. While all those fish have different types of health benefits, which are weighed differently, adding Rainbow Trout to our diet could be the best thing for us. With a societal shift that is focused on eating less fish with higher levels of mercury, we should promote the delicious and healthy, Rainbow Trout, as our newest craving. Next time you sit-down at your favorite seafood restaurant, try ordering one of the healthiest entrees on the menu – the Rainbow Trout.

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