Rainbow Trout: Oncorhynchus mykiss
Up until 1990, Rainbows were known as Salmo gairdneri and were thought to be a genetic relative of the brown trout. New evidence proves the fish descended from a line of the Pacific salmon, genus Oncorhynchus (meaning “hooked snout”). They are now known as Oncorhynchus mykiss. Long fished by the First Nations, Rainbows are also an anglers’ favorite, not because of their beauty so much as for their acrobatics. They are eager to take a fly or lure and then the battle begins! Rainbows can grow to sizes of as high as forty-two pounds and lengths of three feet nine inches. Steelhead are rainbows that go to sea. The survival of these fish is dependent on well-oxygenated and cool water (56 degrees to about seventy) which global warming, urban sprawl and pollution haven’t helped. In recent years, trout fishermen and First Nations tribes have been instrumental in stream enhancement and restoration, once again building up populations of these beautiful fish.
Within the top fish appeared this Thunderbird, lightening in his wings rain falling down from him. Highly regarded in Pacific Northwest First Nations Lore it wasn’t surprising when this chief and dancer showed up in the fish below. Thunderbird is the illustrious ancestor of many of their human lineages and is known to be majestic and proud, able to hunt Killer Whale, which he strikes dead with the serpent snakes he keeps under his wings.