Rainbow Trout ('Ocean Trout')

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Rainbow Trout ('Ocean Trout')

Salmon,Trout & Charr


A sea-going native of streams, rivers and lakes draining into the Pacific Ocean around North America and Siberia, it was introduced to Australia in the 1890s and is available wild and farmed; it is the main trout farmed in Australia. Self-sustaining populations are found in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, the Adelaide Hills and a few streams in southwestern WA.

When grown out in sea cages, it is marketed as ‘Ocean Trout’. The skin colour ranges from silvery, in saltwater, to olive-brownish in brackish water, becoming darker towards the top with spots over most of the body and on the tail fin, distinguishing it from Atlantic Salmon and brown trout which have plain tail fins. It usually has a pink-orange patch on the gill cover becoming a broad stripe along the middle of the sides.

Other Names

Coast Range Trout, Hardhead, Kamloops, Ocean Trout, Redband Trout, Salmon Trout, Sea-run Trout, Silver Trout, Steelhead.


Salmonidae (Salmons).


Farmed fish is available year-round; wild stocks are only caught recreationally and are subject to seasonal closures over winter in some states.

Size and Weight

Freshwater-reared fish is typically sold plate-sized (30-45cm and 0.5-1kg); saltwater-reared fish (‘Ocean Trout’) is typically harvested at 2.5-3.5kg.


Medium-priced when freshwater-reared; high priced when saltwater-reared.


Other Trouts (including Brown Trout); Salmons (such as Atlantic and Chinook, marketed as ‘King Salmon’ in Australia); Char/Charr (such as Brook Trout, marketed as ‘Saltwater Charr’ in Australia).

To Buy

Freshwater-reared Rainbow Trout is mainly sold whole, fresh or smoked. Saltwater-reared fish, sold as ‘Ocean Trout’, is sold whole (gilled and gutted), in cutlet, steak and fillet forms, fresh, smoked and cured as gravlax, the bright orange roe is also available.

In whole fish look for lustrous skin with a slippery, mucilaginous coating, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh smell. In cutlets, steaks and fillets, look for pink to orange, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell; always buy sashimi-grade fish if serving it raw or rare.

To Store

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish, fillets, cutlets and steaks in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook

Average yield is 70-75%, with a higher yield from larger fish.

Has a delicate flavour, low-medium oiliness, and moist, soft texture when freshwater-reared; saltwater-reared has a richer flavour, higher oil content and moist, firmer flesh, similar to Atlantic Salmon, though with a deeper colour.

Flesh colour ranges from white to orange depending on diet. Small (freshwater-reared) fish have many fine bones which are difficult to remove prior to cooking, so are best cooked whole, after which the flesh can easily be lifted from either side of the frame.

Skin generally isn’t eaten, but is left on to help hold flesh together and is easily removed after cooking. Freshwater-reared fish is popular smoked. In saltwater-reared fish, the centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.

Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh, and cut thick fillets into serving-size portions, to allow even heat penetration. Both freshwater-reared and saltwater-reared fish can be served hot or cold.

Cooking Methods

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. An attractive fish cooked whole. Flesh has good gelling characteristics and works well in mousseline or minced for fish cakes and fish balls.

The firm flesh of saltwater-reared fish holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs. It is ideal served rare.

Goes Well With

Almonds, bitter and peppery greens (endive, radicchio, rocket, watercress), butter, capsicum, citrus, curries (especially Thai-style red curry), English spinach, garlic, mayonnaise, olives, pasta, sorrel, vinegar, wine (red and white).


Salmons, other Trouts, Yellowtail Kingfish.




‘Freshwater Trout’
Whole Rainbow Trout with Orange, Maple Syrup & Macadamia Nuts
Whole Rainbow Trout with Date Stuffing
Smoked Trout & Cracked Wheat Salad

‘Ocean Trout’
Char-grilled Fish Kebabs
Char-Grilled Salmon Kebabs & Vegetables with Lime Mayo
Fish Satay
Lemony Seafood Crêpes
Mixed Thin & Thick Sushi Rolls (Norimaki)
Salmon Scotch Eggs
Sashimi Salmon Salad
Seafood Pie with Leek, Garlic & Chives
Seafood Teppanyaki
Whole Poached Salmon with Cucumber Salad
Cold-smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraîche
Cold-smoked Ocean Trout & Flatbread Rolls
Hot-smoked Salmon Frittata

Freshwater Trout
Whole Rainbow Trout with Orange, Maple Syrup & Macadamia Nuts
Whole Rainbow Trout with Date Stuffing
Smoked Trout & Cracked Wheat Salad

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