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Golden trout are small sized members of the trout family with an overall golden color and orangish-red stripes along the side. The rear portion of the body right before the tail is often speckled with dark spots, and so is the dorsal fin. Small scales are also a distinguishing characteristic.


Golden trout occupy only high altitude fresh water lakes and rivers, usually in scenic mountain areas that are highly inaccessible and can only be reached by horseback riding or backpacking. These altitudes can range anywhere from 9000-12000 feet. The water in which the fish dwell is usually of very low temperatures and is of great beauty, hence, the name, aguabonita. The waters contain little weed growth.


The diet of the golden trout consists mainly of surface water-dwelling insects, principally small ones such as caddisflies and midges. Small crustaceans such as tiny fresh water shrimp as well as some terrestrial insects contribute to the diet as well. However, small insects, either in larvae or fully developed form, floating on the surface compose most of the natural food of this species. To feed, the trout opens its gills and hinged mouth and inhales its prey whole in the water. The water is then pushed back out of the gills, acting much like a filter, leaving only the food in its mouth. The primary feeding season is from May through September, because there is a scarcity of insects found during the colder season.


In their native habitat, adults range from 6–12 in (15–30 cm) long. Fish over 10 in (25 cm) are considered large. Golden trout that have been transplanted to lakes have been recorded up to 11 lb (5 kg) in weight. The world record golden trout was caught by Charles S. Reed, on August 5, 1948, from Cook Lake in the Wind River Range. That fish was 28 in (70 cm) long and weighed 11.25 lb (5.1 kg).


The golden trout is found in high altitude fresh bodies of water in the western area of the United States. Specifically, this species can be found in Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and most abundantly in California, where it was first discovered.


Wikipedia, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web

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