Californian Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus Aguabonita)

golden trout

The California golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) is a subspecies of the rainbow trout, which, in turn, is part of the salmon family. Like all trout species, Oncorhynchus aguabonita are freshwater fish and are indigenous to North America. Although they are not endangered or threatened, there have been large declines in their population because of habitat destruction and overfishing for sport and food, especially within the last century.

California golden trout were first listed as an endangered species in 1984 and today are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. These unique fish are endemic to the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but they remain rare due to habitat destruction and water pollution.

To native Californians, the golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) was more than just another fish that lived in the rivers and streams of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was so special that some tribes held ceremonies in its honor and considered it sacred to the point of forbidding anyone from eating it.

What is Acnh golden trout?

Acnh is not a typo. Acnh—pronounced Ah-knee—is an ancient word in Mexican dialects meaning golden trout, a now scientifically recognized subspecies of rainbow trout native to California’s San Joaquin River basin. Also known as golden trout, Oncorhynchus aguabonita are small and stout with bright-orange streaks on their sides. Their scales reflect light like a golden penny.

It was listed as threatened under federal law in 1998, but has been increasing in number since then and was delisted in 2005. However, it remains protected by law in California, where it’s indigenous. With its thick golden coloration that gives rise to its name, one look at an Acnh golden trout and you can see how well-adapted it is to its native habitats: cold mountain streams and lakes.

The Acnh golden trout first came to attention in 1985 when two were discovered outside their natural range on McCloud River, which prompted scientists to investigate possible causes for their appearance there. They found that due largely to factors such as habitat destruction and overfishing, populations of previously common species like Cutthroat trout had dropped significantly.

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Found in Clear Lake, California, and surrounding lakes, Acnh golden trout are unique to their region. They have adapted to their environment over thousands of years to become one of North America’s most desirable game fish. They are one of only two golden trout species; California is home to both lake-dwelling varieties

Origin and descriptions

golden trout

The golden trout is endemic to California, as its name suggests. It can be found in streams throughout much of northern and central California, although it is most common in southern and eastern regions of that state.

While it primarily inhabits cold-water tributaries, in some areas it has adapted to live in lakes and ponds. In rivers, they prefer gravel or rocky bottoms with good water flow. They are also rarely found far from vegetated banks. Unlike many other trout species, golden trout do not migrate in search of better habitat conditions during winter; instead, they remain active all year long regardless of weather conditions.

Though their normal range covers many different types of stream environments, more than 99% of wild golden trout reside in just four isolated watersheds: Big Pine Creek and Little Pine Creek within Sequoia National Park; Bishop Creek and Lee Vining Creek which drain into Lake Crowley on the east side of Sierra Nevada Mountains between Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lake.

Species profile

The golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) is a subspecies of the rainbow trout native to California. They are often kept in hatcheries and raised for stocking into rivers and lakes. Rainbow trout can be identified by their pinkish hue, with dark stripes and red spots throughout. The golden trout has very little of these markings, in comparison to other subspecies of rainbow trout.

They belong to the family Salmonidae, which includes other salmon and trout species. Their scientific name is Oncorhynchus aguabonita, but they are often referred to as Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita because that is their full species name.

Native to California and Colorado, these fish were discovered in Southern California in 1892 in a trout hatchery after being accidentally mixed with rainbow trout from Idaho. Today, golden trout can be found throughout central and southern California.

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California golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) was first listed as an endangered species in 1984 and today, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. These unique fish are endemic to the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, but they remain rare due to habitat destruction and water pollution.


Found in Northern California and Oregon, Golden trout prefer colder waters than other species of trout. They tend to avoid faster moving waters and can be found around deep pools in rivers, lakes, and even reservoirs.

When temperatures warm in summer they move to higher altitudes or deeper into water. Golden trout are usually smaller than other types of trout and have a yellow-orange hue that comes from carotenoid pigments in their skin.


In their natural habitat, this fish species can grow from 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) in length and weighs around 5 kg (11 pounds)

Tank size

Due their large size, the minimum recommended tank size is 200 gallons (757 liters)

Tank requirements

They are freshwater fish and prefer tanks at 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.4. They grow between 6 and 12 inches in length and live up to 12 years. The tank should be densely planted with an abundance of hiding spots such as rocks, driftwood, or plants.

An algae growth can be beneficial but needs to be kept under control as golden trout will eat their own slime coat if they come into contact with it. A one-inch layer of gravel or sand on the bottom is optimal for cleanliness and helps maintain water quality.

A single pair per tank is recommended for long-term success; however, multiple pairs may be kept together successfully when provided sufficient space and hiding places from each other.

Tank mates

Although golden trout get along well with their own kind, they will not do well when kept with non-trout species. The most common tank mates are rainbows and cutthroat trout, as well as other species from within the Oncorhynchus family.

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Other compatible fish include minnows and other varieties of trout. Just be sure to avoid stocking more than one type of rainbow or you’ll end up with a very dull tank.


golden trout

Golden trout are unique in that they can be difficult to breed. Only about 50% of their eggs hatch, which means it’s important to ensure good breeding conditions. In an outdoor breeding pond, the water temperature must stay at 60–70°F for a week before and two weeks after spawning.

The spawning period is only three days long, making it crucial to have optimal conditions during that time frame. Larvae from 1-year-old broodstock should be used because younger larvae often die due to poor absorption of food. Larvae should be moved into tanks with live feed 24 hours after hatching when no more than 10 mm long; by 3–4 mm, their stomachs should begin functioning properly and they can start eating artificial feed.

Golden trout mainly eat insects like small flies, caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. However, juvenile golden trout also consume small fish as well as some crustaceans and snails as they mature.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Golden trout are naturally aggressive, territorial fish. This is because they’re preyed upon by larger fish when young. If a golden trout senses that it is being stalked or threatened, it will strike first in self-defense. If you want to raise golden trout in your home aquarium, be sure to choose a species that isn’t known for being overly aggressive – California golden trout are known for their willingness to live with other species of non-predatory fish in community tanks.


golden trout

Golden trout is a species of salmonid fish in the genus Oncorhynchus. It lives primarily in small lakes and streams at elevations below 2000 m, which makes it particularly vulnerable to overfishing and introduced predators such as brook trout. They are also known for their sensitivity to pollution due to their high fat content and because they use gills instead of lungs.

Golden trout can be difficult to care for due to their need for low-oxygen water, but they do thrive when properly cared for. As coldwater fish, they prefer water temperatures between 54 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, with ideal ranges between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area where golden trout do not naturally exist, you should provide a tank that simulates these conditions.

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To do so, turn your heater down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and add warm rocks to your tank’s filter system. The most challenging part of caring for golden trout is lowering oxygen levels without introducing bacteria into your tank; keep them as clean as possible by ensuring no substrate settles on their gills or along their body, and don’t introduce any other fish into your tank unless it is first cycled by several months of uninterrupted care.

Be aware that any changes to temperature or other chemistry will likely stress out your fish; gradual adjustments are best if you make any at all.

What they eat

Golden trout are omnivores that consume aquatic insects, smaller fish, and algae. They also feed on terrestrial insects as well as plant matter when available. They’re highly opportunistic and will even eat small mammals. As they grow larger, they begin consuming more fish and mammals than anything else. Crayfish are one of their favorite foods when they’re juvenile—the largest golden trout can consume crayfish up to a third of their own bodyweight!


golden trout

This fish species can live up to 9 years with good care and proper water parameters.

Parasites and diseases

California golden trout are known to have a few species of parasites and diseases. One major parasite is a microsporidian named Epistylis, which is harmless to its host. Eggs from Epistylis infect fish in rivers and lakes. Then, the parasite grows inside its host until it kills it. If left alone, Epistylis can kill an entire population of trout in just three years.


There are only a few natural predators of trout. An introduced South American species of fish, known as bullheads, prey on eggs and young trout. Some birds, such as kingfishers and herons, will also take their toll on smaller fish in shallow waters. Other than these few creatures, there are no natural predators to worry about when angling for golden trout.