A Complete Guide to Palomino Trout Fishing

When a fisherman says they’ve “struck gold” they probably aren’t referring to a treasure chest of gold doubloons, but a palomino trout. This specific breed of fish is a rare catch, and every angler’s lifelong dream. But, there’s still a chance you can reel in this golden trout.

To know how to catch palomino trout with minimal tries, you need to know the nature of this breed of fish, the proper equipment to pack, and the best bait to use.

While this may seem like a lot to consider, we’ve condensed all this information into a short guide detailed below. We’re confident that after going through what we’ve gathered, you’ll be on your way to becoming a palomino trout catching pro in no time.

What is a Palomino Trout

Golden trout, golden rainbow trout, palomino trout – this special fish bears many names. Most commonly known as a palomino trout, this fish is a hybrid trout from the cross-breeding between a West Virginia golden trout, and a common rainbow trout. This type of fish is so rare that it has become a trophy fish among anglers.

What is a Palomino Trout?

This rare breed was actually a result of selective breeding by scientists in a West Virginia hatchery. The objective of the scientists was to produce a rare species of golden trout from a common rainbow trout.

As a result of their decades of trials, a genetic mutation occurred, which caused the rise of what we now know as the palomino trout.

Differences Between Palomino Trout and Golden Rainbow Trout

West Virginia State Trout and Stream Habitat Biologist, David Thorne says that there are actually no notable differences between the palomino trout and the golden fish trout. Both fish are found in West Virginia, and they both share the same habitat and feeding habits.

The genetic mutation that caused the rise of the palomino trout breed resulted in a paler yellowish color (similar to the color of a fry) of the fish, whereas the color of the typical golden trout was much more vibrant. However, most fishermen cannot tell the differences between a West Virginia golden rainbow trout and a palomino trout, as they look nearly identical.

Both palomino trout and golden rainbow trout have a yellow body with a single red stripe running across the top of their pectoral fins to the end of their tails.

Differences Between Palomino Trout and Rainbow Trout

There are many differences between these two types of fish. The key difference between a palomino trout and rainbow trout is that the palomino is native to the US, in West Virginia lakes and stocked streams. Whereas, the rainbow trout is found in many parts of the world, especially in cold streams of North America and Asia.

You can see the vast differences between the two by their visible features. A rainbow trout has a brownish sage tint where as a palomino trout has a pale yellow color. Also, rainbow trout are dotted with black spots all the way from their heads to their tails while palomino trout do not.

However, both are freshwater fish and have similar habits of living and feeding. They both share the physical characteristic of a red horizontal stripe across their bodies.

Where to Find Palomino Trout

Although palomino trout originated in West Virginia, and are typically most found there, they are also found in other parts of eastern USA.

As they are self-sustaining freshwater fish, and are capable of living in the wild for the entirety of their lives, they can be found in stocked water bodies such as the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest of North America.

Palomino trout are known to feed on salmon eggs the most, so they are commonly found in places where salmon are also located. They typically cohabit with other breeds of trout, such as the lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Despite the variety of water bodies these fish live in, anglers prefer to travel to West Virginia for palomino trout fishing.

How to Catch Palomino Trout

There’s no step-by-step process on fishing for palomino trout. You just have to make sure to take the necessary preparation in order to attract the most trout. To have a bigger chance of catching a palomino trout, here’s what you need to do –

How to Catch Palomino Trout

Pick a Place with a High Palomino Trout Population.

You can’t expect to catch a fish as rare as a palomino trout in lakes or rivers that they have a relatively low number in. Instead, you can go to West Virginia, which is the hot spot for trout fishing.

Use Colorful Spinners

There’s a lot of competition among anglers in the fishing zones of West Virginia. You have to make sure you use spinners or streamers that attract the trout, and lead them to you without getting distracted by the others. Choose colorful ones that look like insects.

Use the Proper Bait

Palomino trout love salmon eggs the most out of all the things they eat. Make a small roe bag filled with them, and use it as bait. Now, watch all the trout swimming your way.

Choose a Big Hook

There are many reasons why palomino trout are trophy fish, one of them being that they put up a good fight. To prevent them from scurrying off, use a 14 to 18 size hook.

Equipment for Palomino Trout Fishing

Since palomino trout aren’t an easy catch, you will need to increase your chances of reeling in this special trout by packing proper equipment. Aside from choosing a location where palomino trout are usually found, you should also consider bringing along the following supplies while preparing for your trip –

Freshwater Fishing Rod

Not all fishing rods are capable of performing well in freshwater bodies. For palomino trout fishing, you will need a rod that is just below 6 feet 6 inches. As palomino trout zip by quickly, you will need a rod with heavy power for quick hook sets and reeling specially crankbait reels in the trout as fast as possible.

Polarized Fishing Sunglasses

Due to their unique and vibrant color, palomino trout can be easily spotted among a group of fish or in a flowing stream. However, this all depends on how many fish cohabit the place, the number of fishermen present simultaneously, forces of the current, and weather (especially the intensity of sunshine).

To prevent any of these factors from messing with your aim, you should opt for a pair of polarized fishing sunglasses. These help you to keep your focus on the fish by cutting out glare from the sun and preventing eye strain from squinting.

Streamers, Spinners, and Lures

No matter how special a breed a palomino trout may be, they will go after a lure just like any other fish. However, the effectiveness of your lure will depend on the lures of other fishermen, if there are any present.

A palomino trout will swim towards whichever lure they find to be the most colorful, eye-catching, and vibrant. Chances are, if a lot of fishermen in the area are using the same type of lure, the palomino will catch on, and just ignore all the lures altogether and go look for a more different looking one.

So, always pack lures that you can be sure other people won’t be using.

Best Bait for Palomino Trout Fishing

An empty hook will have you standing by the lake for hours. A convenient way to increase the chances of palomino trout swimming your way is to use bait. Here are some of the best bait types for palomino trout fishing –

Salmon Eggs

Palomino trout absolutely love salmon eggs, arguably more than anything they consume. To make salmon eggs into bait, you will have to create a sack for the tiny spheres so that they don’t go missing once they hit the water. You can learn how to make a roe bag for salmon eggs by watching this tutorial.


This is an easy kind of bait to handle as well as acquire. Plus, the trout love to feed on them. For catching palomino trout, we recommend garden hackle worms, night crawlers, and red wigglers for bait.


These look identical to mosquitoes, but are actually a small type of fly, which are usually found around rivers and lakes. Trout are easily charmed by midges, so fishermen tend to use them as bait.

You can buy midges online or put apple cider vinegar into a bowl with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to attract and trap the midges near the lake you’re fishing at.


These are another type of flying insects found near water bodies that trout enjoy feeding on. You can catch them around rivers, ponds, or lakes or buy them as soft bait online.

Read also: 5 Best Fish Measuring Boards For The Perfect Catch


Catching palomino trout may seem impossible, but once you learn how to properly prepare yourself, they are just like catching any other freshwater fish.

Hopefully, you have mustered the courage to reel in your own golden trout with our guide.

Remember to pack wisely and choose locations where palomino trout are commonly found. There’s a chance you’ll encounter many fishermen in the area, but don’t lose hope, the trout will go to whoever that’s best prepared!

2 thoughts on “A Complete Guide to Palomino Trout Fishing”

  1. Flies like a black woolly bugger and black colored pheasant tail nymphs or a soft hackle like the Black Pennel are effective


Leave a Comment