When going through the different species of trout on my Trout and Salmon Species Page, one common trend that you will come across is that when you get to the status section for each fish there is typically a comment about problems with competition and hybridization with non-native rainbow trout. While rainbows are native to the west coast of North America and Northeastern Asia they have miraculously managed to find their way into streams on every continent (expect Antarctica of course!). The question is what made people fall in love with the rainbow trout, while other trout species just got swept under the rug?
I recently had the pleasure of reading Andres Halverson's book An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How the Rainbow Trout Beguiled North America and Overran the World. This book dives in the history of the rainbow trout's spread and the mindset of the fisheries managers that deemed it in the public's best interest to spread this trout as far and wide as possible despite the negative implications on native populations of salmonids. The book comes full circle, starting by showing mind set that set the stage for the spread of this trout. During which time the rainbow trout came into favor as environmental degradation led to diminished native populations and the hardy was pumped into as many waters as possible in an effort to "improve on nature." However as the environmental movement began this management practices started to shift to first wild and then native trout. I would strongly recommend this book to any fisherman!
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