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Rainbow Trout
A 3 pound trout can break six pound test quite easily. That's double its body weight.
A Rainbow trout can leap four times its body length --in human terms that's 18 to 24 feet in the air out of a swimming pool.

Trout can accelerate from a standstill to 23 mph in one second. That's 33 feet of fishing line per second. They can maintain that speed to take 100 yards of fishing line.


Tackle Terms
  • Line Test Number :The amount of weight it takes to break or abrade a line--i.e.
    #4 test
  • Straight Hook: Configured
    in a "J" shape.
  • Treble Hook: three prong barbs ( size most used for trout: #14, #16 or #18 ).
  • Split Shot: sinker/weight
    that clamps onto fishing line.
  • Lure: Mimics or looks
    like real baitfish through movement, color, or vibration
    Types: Spoon, Spinner, Spinner bait, hairpin, Buzz baits, Plugs.
  • Senko: Soft Jerkbait--
    dense plastic body that casts well, sinks fast and stays submerged allowing for control of movement by angler.


  • Kingdom:
  • Phylum:
  • Class:
  • Order:
  • Family:
  • Genus:
  • Species:
    O. mykiss

The Life Stages of Rainbow Trout
  • Egg
  • Alevin - hatched fish with yolk sac attached
  • Fry - begins eating insects and Larva
  • Fingerling - 2 to 5 inches long
  • Parr - develops dark vertical marks
  • Smolt - Steelhead Only
  • Adult
  • Kelt - post spawning adults


Blue Catfish:
Ictalurus Furcatus
( "fish cat" "Forked" )

Channel Catfish:
Ictalurus Punctatus
( "fish cat" "spotted" )

  • Channel Catfish are steel gray with dark spots which become darker with age. Blue Catfish are slate blue on their backs with a cream colored underbelly.

  • Catfish as small as 4 inches eat fish, snails, aquatic insects, other invertebrates and algae. They rely on sight in clearer waters but in murkier waters they catch prey by using their acute sense of smell, touch and swimming vibrations. They will also occasionally feed at the surface. They are considered mature when they are 24 inches long.

  • Catfish can live to be 40 years old and breed for the first time between 2 and 5 years old. Females usually breed every year. Males may spawn more than once a year. Spawning takes place in the summer when water temperatures reach between 75 and 80 degrees fahrenheit. They use nesting cavities like hollow logs, log jams, undercut banks, or manmade areas such as pipes to nest. They need good water flow with well oxygenated water but can tolerate more turbid water with temperatures in the 90's. Murky water can also be beneficial to young catfish providing protection from predators.

  • Females will lay between 3,000 and 50,000 eggs. Once egg laying and fertilization are complete, the male will chase the female from the nesting area and tend to the eggs by fanning them with his fins to keep oxygenated water moving over them. Depending on temperature, the eggs will hatch within 5 to 10 days. The male will continue to guard the sac fry for several days until the yolk sacs are absorbed and the fry are able to swim about in search of food.

  • Newly hatched fry have a large yolk sac which contains the nutrients they need for the next 2 to 5 days until they are fully developed and are ready to start feeding. When the yolk sac is fully absorbed, the fry become darker in color and will begin to swim-up to the surface to gulp air which fills their swim bladders. The swim bladder allows the fish to maintain and regulate their buoyancy.

  • Bass

    Rainbow Trout
    (Oncorhychus mykiss)

    Rainbow trout are native to the western Sierra Nevadas and belong to the family of fish known as salmon. There are more than one hundred varieties of rainbows. Today they are raised in hatcheries around the world. Rainbows are unusual because there are two types that can share the same habitat at the same time, an anadromous form called steelhead, which migrate to the ocean but must return to freshwater to spawn and benthopelagic trout, that stay in fresh water all their lives. They prefer highly oxygenated, cool, clear streams or lakes with temperatures ranging from 55 to 60 degrees fahrenheit but can tolerate slightly higher temperatures. Among their many traits, are a rainbow's small scales, long body and silvery sides with a horizontal pinkish to reddish bandof scales. They also are identified by their 8 to 12 rays in their anal fin, a mouth that doesn't extend pass the back of their eye, and their lack of teeth at the base of the tongue. Steelhead tend to be more silvery than freshwater rainbow and have chrome-colored sides that usually lack the pink stripe. Most hatchery raised rainbows have their adipose fin clipped to distinguish them from wild fish. Jess Ranch Lakes does not clip our hatchery trout. Stream or river rainbows display darker spots and brighter pink stripe coloration. All fish become darker when in spawning condition. Their spots become more prominent and the pink stripe more intense. A male's jaws lengthen and the lower jaw develops a kype or hook like extension. The lifespan and size of a rainbow depends on where they live and what they eat. Rainbows that live in a stream, usually grow to one pound in four years. They can live to eleven years, but most live between four and seven years. Although rainbows are near the top of the food chain in their freshwater habitat, and will eat smaller fish ( up to and over one third of their own body length) from the time they are fry, they will eat most anything, with a diet that consists mostly of insects, larva, crustaceans, eggs, plankton, salmon carcasses and even small mammals. Rainbows that eat a diet high in scuds (freshwater shrimp) and crawdads have flesh that is orange-pink and prized for flavor by anglers. Steelheads and non-migrating rainbows are iteroparous and may spawn several times in their lifetime. Non-migrating trout and Steelhead can interbreed and produce offspring of either type. Because of their adaptability, these fish can live in freshwater or saltwater due to habitat barriers either man made or natural such as dams or drought conditions. In the wild, male and female spawners as young as three to five years old have been seen, but most rainbows mature and spawn at age six or seven years old. Spawning frequency ranges from annually to once every three years and rainbows up to eleven years of age have been seen spawning. Most populations of rainbows spawn in the spring, however, spawning may occur at anytime of the year and takes place in small tributaries or at the inlet or outlet of a lake. The steelhead smolts (juvenile, immature fish) usually remain in freshwater for one to three years before heading to sea, where as salmon, generally go to sea as smolts. They will stay at sea for up to four years before returning to fresh water. Steelheads migrate upriver at different times of the year. Summer-run steelhead migrate between May and October, before they are fully mature. They spawn after they reach their reproductive maturity in the spring. Winter-run steelhead mature fully in the ocean before migrating, between November and April, and spawn shortly after returning to freshwater. A female rainbow will lay between two hundred and eight thousand eggs whereas a walleye of the same weight will lay up to fifty times more eggs per spawn. Life is dangerous in the first stages of of a rainbow's life as fewer than one percent of the fry will survive one year. Only 1 steelhead out of a redd of 1000 eggs will survive to spawn. Recently there have been studies that show that hatchery raised steelhead do not reproduce well in the wild. Perhaps this indicates that rainbows that reproduce must possess a certain genetic toughness associated with natural selection. There is much yet to learn about this remarkable species.

    Trout Sense and Physiology
    Trout have streamlined bodies and fins that allow them to go through the water with little resistance. Their body shape also enables them to conserve energy and face the exhausting task of swimming upstream. They tend to suck up their food rather than engulfing it like bass do and also use their mouths to investigate potential foods. Males will also use their mouths to fight each other during the spawning season. Trout do most of their foraging by sight and their pupils are trangular in shape rather than round like humans, giving them a wider field of vision. The position of their eyes allow them to see well within an area above their heads known as the Snell Circle. This gives them optimum vision where most predators attack. Trout are nearsighted with fair vision up to twenty feet depending on water clarity. Rainbow trout see color well. They see red and blue wavelengths much the same as humans but perceive yellow and greens better than we do since yellow and blue wavelengths travel better in water than air. Recently scientists have found that trout can also see ultraviolet (UVA) wavelengths. Trout have a three chamber internal ear that uses calcified stone instead of the fluid that humans have in their internal ears. This organ allows them to tell up from down and left from right. They have two nares (basically a fish nose), which are closed sacs that transmit chemical signals to the brain, allow them to smell and can detect some chemicals on human hands at 1 part per 80 billion-- that's 1/2 teaspoon in an Olympic pool. Trout also use smell to communicate with each other. Females use chemicals called pheromones in the mucus of their skin to tell males when they are ready to spawn. Also trout seem to use their sense of smell to help locate their original spawning streams. Overall water transmits chemicals much better than air. Something that you cannot smell in the air is stronger in the water. The gills act much like lungs with large surface areas that exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide produced as waste by cells. Trout open their mouths wide to allow water to pass through their gills. Lake trout also use their gills to collect zooplankton. Gill rakers pick food off the gills so the trout can swallow them. Gills are delicate and are covered by a hard protective plate called the operculum. A swim bladder, a long skinny air filled sac, allows them to maintain a certain level in the water without much effort. The Lateral Line (specialized scales) is a unique sense organ that runs from the operculum to the tail and gives the fish a "distant touch" sensitivity that detects pressure waves or vibrations. This allows the fish to swim in a school without bumping into other fish. The Lateral Line is made up of special cells called neuromasts.

    How To Fillet a Trout

    4.14 Lbs G Belmares with 2 limits
    RGorman6BT BHildebrandt4BT

      A Bluegill's Life

    • These fish love warm water and prefer temperatures around 85 degrees fahrenheit, but avoid direct sun making aquatic vegetation in shallow areas or deeper waters with warm currents a favorite habitat.
    • Coloration depends on age, sex, water and season. They can be dark blue with yellowish and purple hues, or dark olive to black. Their bellies are orange to red in color. They have five to nine dark vertical bars or stripes on their sides and a broad black flap on the back of their operculum. A male bluegill's color becomes move intense when spawning with mature males having an orange to red breast. Immature males have a white breast.
    • Bluegill have ctenoid scales, which have small rows of teeth along their edges. These scales cover their bodies including their heads and operculum.
    • Like all panfish, bluegill are round (like a frying pan) and thin with even the largest fish measuring only 1 inch thick or less. The largest bluegill caught at Jess Ranch Lakes weighed 2 pounds 6 ounces.
    • Swimming in schools of 10 to 20 fish, bluegill have been known to mingle with other sunfish as well as minnows. They become quite attached to their habitat (especially the males) and stay in a home range defined by certain landmarks.
    • Bluegill spawn when water is at least 67 degrees fahrenheit during the full moon from March to September. A school of bluegill will nest in the same area with males using their caudal fins to sweep sand and their snouts to move debris, creating a craterlike nest 2 to 6 inches deep and 12 inches wide. When a female approaches, the male will circle the nest with increasing speed to attract her. Females can lay between 12,000 to 25,000 eggs and will lay their eggs in many different nests. Once fertilization has taken place, male bluegill will fiercely guard their nest, using their caudal fin to fan the eggs and keep them free from debris. The eggs hatch in 2 to 5 days depending on water temperature. The male bluegill will stay with the fry for several days until they can feed.

    • Bluegill are sight feeders. They will eat algae, aquatic plants, zooplankton, insect larvae, fish eggs and sometimes small fish. Since they have small mouths and no sharp teeth they tend to nibble at their food rather than bite it.
    • Most of their growth occurs within the first five years of life. On average they grow to 6 to 8 ounces but can grow to over 1 pound with a favorable habitat ( food, water temperature, protective vegetation, etc).
    • The largest bluegill ever caught was a 15-inch, 4-pound, 12-ounce fish taken from Ketona Lake in Alabama in 1950.
    • Bluegill generally don't live beyond 10 years old.
    • Fishing Tip: Many anglers will use a small straight hook baited with a meal worm or half a night crawler and a bobber to catch these tasty fish as well as small jigs or lures.

    How To Clean A Trout

    All you need is a small knife and a spoon.
    Gills act as the lungs of a fish. Gillrakers allow the fish to strain food from the water flowing through their gills. The operculum is the protective plate that shields the gills. When handling any fish you should be especially careful not to injure this area if you wish to release or keep the fish alive.

    Ecology of A Lake
    Limnetic Zone
    open water-light doesn't penetrate to the bottom.

    Littoral Zone
    near shore- light penetrates to the sediment- allows aquatic plants to grow.

    Euphotic Zone
    surface to where light is too low for plants to grow.

    Benthic Zone
    bottom sediment -usually rich in invertebrates such as insect larvae, or small crustaceans. Organic content of the bottom affects the productivity as does the physical characteristics of the lake floor. Sandy sediment is unstable for plant species, has little organic matter( food for organisms) and offers poor protection from predators. Rocky bottoms can offer protection from predators, good areas for attached algae and other organic ooze (food). A flat bottom with mucky sediment provides good food for benthic organisms but provides less protection unless higher plants are present.

    Lake organisms that go where they choose
    fish, amphibians, turtles. larger zooplankton and insects.

    Lake Organisms that go where the water takes them
    zooplankton (animals), (plants)phytoplankton, bacterioplankton (bacteria), Detritus ( dead stuff- produced within lake and washed in from watershed).

    Lake organisms that live on the bottom (benthos)
    aquatic insects, clams, snail, worms crayfish, higher plants ( macrophytes) and attached algae (perphyton), bacteria and fungi.

    The Bass Life
    Micropterus salmoides

    Largemouth bass grow to 4 to 6 inches during their first year, 8 to 12 inches in two years,and to 16 inches in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly split dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye.

    Largemouth bass are native to eastern North America and ranged from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic coast to the central region of the United States. Bass are the top predators in the lake ecosystem. Fry feed on zooplankton and insect larvae until they are about 2 inches in length when they then become active predators and begin feeding on other fish or large invertebrates. Spawning takes place when water temperatures reach about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and usually begins between April and May here at Jess Ranch Lakes. Males build the nests in two to eight feet of water and prefer water with surrounding aquatic vegetation, but will nest in other non-muddy areas such as submerged logs. Once the female lays her eggs ( between 2,000 to 43,000), she is chased away by the male who guards the eggs until they hatch in five to ten days and then continues to guard the fry which remain in a school near the nest. The male will stay with the fry for several days. Bass can live to 16 years old. Young bass tend to swim in schools but adults are solitary. Several adults may inhabit a small area but they do not interact. Largemouth bass hide among plants, roots or limbs to catch prey. They like quiet clear waters but can survive in many habitats. Pollution and drought are the biggest threats to bass populations.

    Bass Girl's First Bass

    EGonazalez4bass Bass

      Thanks to Bruce Leutzinger for sending in this recipe.

      Al Schneider's Homemade Killer Trout Bait Concoction

    • 1 Jar of Power Bait
    • 3 ozs Velveeta Cheese
    • 3 ozs Mini Marshmallows
    • 1 Jar Salmon Eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pancake syrup
    • 1 Tablespoon anise or garlic attractant

    • In a non-stick saucepan melt the power bait, velveeta & marshmallows. Remove from heat and add salmon eggs, smashing them a bit, then add syrup and attractant. Let the mixture cool and then need like dough. Put in container and refrigerate. When fishing the bait, roll a small bait sized ball in your hands. Slide the bait ball down your 3" to 4" leader and place on treble hook. Use any type of sinker set-up.
    dotani dotani dotani dotani
    In June 2007, a 43 Lbs 6 ozs rainbow was caught by Adam Konrad of Saskatoon, out of Lake Diefenbaker in Canada. The fish was 38.5 inches long and had a 33 inch girth.

    The Basic Stuff
    Thanks to Kevin for putting this list together.

    For Trout, Catfish,
    Bluegill or Bass
    • 5 to 6 feet pole with an open reel
    • #4 or #6 Lbs test line for trout, bass or bluegill--for catfish #8
    • Two tray Tackle Box
    • Size #16 treble hooks(trout)
      #6 straight hooks(bluegill or bass)
      #4 straight hooks(catfish)
    • #4 or smaller Split Shot
    • Egg Sinkers 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounce
    • Power Bait: orange twist, lime twist, chartreuse, rainbow
    • Night Crawlers (trout, bass, bluegill, catfish), meal worms (bluegill), mackerel or shrimp(catfish)
    • Worm Blower ( to inflate night crawlers)or mini-marshmallows
    • You might like to try: Gold Lil'Jake Lures, orange LipRipperz worms, power worms or crappie jigs.
    • Hook Remover or Needlenose Plyers
    • nail clippers
    • Stringer or Floating Basket
    • net with 18" or longer handle
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