Palomino trout: a dazzling fish that adds a splash of color to any angler's day. But their beauty is matched by their cunning. Worried your tackle box isn't up to the challenge? Not sure how to identify a palomino from its look-alike cousins? Fear not! This comprehensive guide will transform you from a curious angler into a palomino-hunting pro.

We'll break down their preferred habitats, unveil their feeding habits, and show you exactly what flies and lures will entice them to strike. Also, we'll even address the best times of year and day to target these vibrant fish. So, ditch the guesswork and get ready to land the Palomino trout of your dreams!

What Is a Palomino Trout?

golden trout

Palomino Trout, also called Banana Trout, appears to be one of the favored catches among fishing anglers. It's not a native subspecies, but it's a hybrid produced by crossing a rainbow trout with a San Joaquin golden trout.

These characteristics of milk include the unique mix that gives it its golden hue and some interesting traits.

This yellow-colored fish was among the first species ever to be successfully cultured in a hatchery in the state of West Virginia during the 1950s.

Since then this species has been placed in plenty of lakes and streams in the USA, and therefore taken as quite a difficult task with a fantastic opportunity to get one.

Main Characteristics of Palomino Trout

Palomino trout not only because of its rarity but also for its peculiar appearance is the thing that attracts pisciculture enthusiasts.

Let's examine carefully the features that mark the fish as an unusual one.

1. Color

Palomino is a woody orange-yellow fish, known by nicknames "banana trout" and "lightning trout". Its golden color is a consequence of its mixed ancestry. In contrast to the rainbow trout's distinctive emerald and red pattern, the palomino may only have a soft reddish stripe running along its body without the usual dark spots.

2. Size

Palomino trout will usually get as large as their rainbow trout fathers growing to about 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) in size. Nevertheless, there are sometimes specimens that could reach even 24 inches (60 cm).

3. Physical Attributes

Speaking of the body shape, the palomino trout should be an exact image of a typical trout: the elongated and laterally flattened body. In them, the same extensive fins are present, including a well-detailed dorsal fin near the mid-back, a single anal fin near the tail, and paired pectoral and pelvic fins.

4. Habitat

While not native to any specific body of water, palomino trout adapt well to cool, clean, and well-oxygenated environments. They often favor:

  • Streams: Look for streams with good flow and plenty of structure, such as rocks, logs, and overhanging vegetation. These features provide hiding places for the fish and ambush points for their prey.
  • Lakes: Palomino trout can thrive in lakes, particularly those with deeper sections offering cooler water temperatures. They tend to stay near the surface or in shallower areas with rocky outcroppings or weed beds.

5. Feeding

Palomino trout, similar to most trout, can be identified as omnivorous species whose feeding behaviors are typically opportunistic. Their diet primarily consists of:

  • Aquatic Insects: Stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies and midges are all taken as food.
  • Small Fish: The minnows and the baitfish are a perfect treat for the larger Kobe trout.
  • Crustaceans: Crayfish and shrimp are a very good treat for the clever and versatile fish.

Palomino Trout vs Golden Trout

While some experienced anglers can differentiate these fish at a glance, for others, a closer look might be necessary.

The palomino trout's close relative, the California golden trout, can cause some confusion for anglers. Both fish boasts stunning golden hues, but there are key differences to keep in mind:

Characteristic Palomino Trout Golden Trout
Color Light gold or yellow Bright golden-yellow
Origin Man-made hybrid Natural species
Scientific Name Oncorhynchus mykiss Oncorhynchus Aguabonita
Native Range North America Western United States
Habitat Various, including lakes, ponds, and rivers Mountain streams and lakes
Size Similar to Rainbow Trout Smaller than Rainbow Trout
Growth Rate Can grow faster than Rainbow Trout Slower growth rate
Behavior Similar to Rainbow Trout Similar to other trout species
Fishing Regulations Often considered a hatchery species, with specific regulations Native species with specific regulations in place for conservation
Conservation Status Not applicable Sensitive, with some subspecies considered threatened or endangered

There are differences between Palomino Trout and Golden Trout in various aspects.

The Palomino Trout, having a light gold color, is a hybrid species created by humans. They are commonly located in different bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, and rivers, and they are recognized as species raised in hatcheries with particular fishing regulations.

In contrast, Golden Trout are naturally found and have a vibrant golden-yellow color. They are smaller in size and grow at a slower rate compared to Rainbow Trout. They are often found in mountain streams and lakes located in the western United States.

How to Catch Palomino Trout?

catch a palomino trout

Fishing palomino trout can be challenging, but anglers will find it very rewarding. Sometimes these mysterious fish are not fished simply because they have skittish behavior and are selective of what they eat, and thus are difficult to catch.

One of the easiest ways to guarantee success while fishing is by using the correct equipment and methods. 

Utilizing light lures and live bait is the preferred tactic to catch palomino trout because such baits are more likely to draw bites from trout fed on fish that stay close to the surface.

Besides, the time of the day and weather conditions are also important in your profitability.

Here are some effective tips and guides to catch palomino trout for beginners and pros.

The thrill of landing a palomino trout is undeniable, but these vibrant fish can be a challenge. Here's what you need to know to up your game:

● Rod & Reel

A lightweight rod (7-8 weight) with a good balance of casting finesse and fighting power is ideal for palomino trout.  A 7-weight rod provides more flexibility for casting a variety of lures and flies, while an 8-weight rod offers a bit more backbone for battling larger fish. Choose a reel that is compatible with your rod weight and has a smooth drag system to handle runs without putting too much pressure on the fish.

● Line

A floating fly line is the most common choice for palomino trout fishing. This permits your flies or lures to stay near the surface of the water, where palomino trout tend to feed. You'll also want to consider the weight of your line about the rod and flies you're using. A good starting point is a 4 or 5-weight line.

● Flies & Lures

Mimic the palomino's natural prey. Small nymphs, streamers, and wet flies that resemble insects are all effective choices. For bait fishing, consider live worms, mealworms, or small spinners that mimic minnows.

● Timings

Spring & Fall:  The best time to target palomino trout is generally during spring and fall when water temperatures are cooler and these fish are more active feeders.

Early Mornings & Evenings:  These periods often offer better feeding opportunities for the fish, with less sunlight penetration and increased insect activity.

● Presentation is Everything

Cast Upstream:  Since palomino trout tend to face upstream while feeding, cast your lure or fly slightly upstream and let it drift naturally towards them.

Light Touches:  Palomino trout can be easily spooked, so use a light touch when setting the hook and playing with the fish.

Fish the Structure:  Focus your efforts around areas with structures like rocks, logs, and weed beds where palomino trout like to hide and ambush prey.

● Bonus Tips

Research Local Regulations:  Always check fishing regulations in your area, as stocking schedules and bait restrictions can vary.

Respect the Resource:  Palomino trout are often stocked fish, so practice catch-and-release techniques to ensure healthy populations for future anglers.


The Palomino trout, which is the fish everyone desires for, due to its spectacular colors and shy manner gives rise to fishing like none other. With this booklet, you will be able to detect those birds, know their habitat and the way they cooperate and you will also get a testimony.

It's not easy, but you can do it if you know how to use the tactic, tackle it all, and have a little bit of patience. Assure yourself, that you will catch this very interesting fish soon.

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