State Freshwater Fish

California Golden Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss aquabonita

California’s state freshwater fish, the California golden trout, is native to California’s southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. They live at 6-10,000 feet elevation in clear, cold water at 37-71 F°. Golden trout are one of the most beautiful and colorful of the trout family.

They have an olive-green topside fading to bright gold on their sides and large, round, dark spots. Bright red-orange coloring is found on their under belly, gill-cheek patches, and along their sides.  They can live up to 9 years and reach 8 inches long. Females spawn in late spring or early summer, laying 300-2,300 eggs in gravel beds. These hatch in about 20 days. On-going efforts are underway to protect the golden trout by raising and transplanting them into lakes and streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

(Assembly Resolution, 52 Chapter 90, 1947)

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