Chances are, if you catch a native (not stocked) rainbow trout in a river east of the Cascades, it’s a redband.
Features: As the name suggests, these fish have rosy red strip along their sides. Other identification clues include large, profuse black spots on the body and orange and yellow tints along the belly.
Habitat: Redband trout are a subspecies of native rainbow trout that have adapted to the arid, desert conditions of eastern Oregon. During drought years distribution constricts as streams dry and become uninhabitable. Trout re-colonize these streams during wet cycles, expanding the distribution. Prime trout waters are clear, clean and cold. Good trout stream habitat is complex, consisting of an array of riffles and pools, submerged wood, boulders, undercut banks, and aquatic vegetation.
Technique: Few waters with native redband populations allow the use of bait. Anglers often catch them with artificial flies and lures.