The Rainbow Trout
By George B. Emmons
The rainbow trout was the most popular game fish for visitors to the Berkshire National Hatchery, open to the public where I was formerly president before moving to Mattapoisett. The rainbow trout was perhaps so named after the atmospheric symbol of good fortune and a mythical pot of gold under one end with a wish for good fortune as a well known song in the “Wizard Of Oz.”
True to its aerial title, the rainbow trout usually hangs out somewhere near the surface of the water, ready to grasp a dry fly, expertly presented to set in motion the aquatic fireworks spectacle of thrashing across the surface then jumping into the air for the benefit of the lucky angler. Now the rainbow in appearance has already morphed into deciduous shades of autumn to get ready for spawning.
Like the leaves of a sugar maple, whose green edges turn to scarlet being starved of chlorophyll as temperatures fall also triggers a signal to the trout. Remarkably, the rainbow is unique in being biologically capable to spawn now, or if not advantageous, waiting until spring, but not repeated in the same year after the previous effort of regeneration.
The creative hobby of both wet and dry fly tying by avid entomologists has been richly rewarded with a prize performance, like a pot of aquatic gold under the arc of a well-cast fly. Somehow it has also encouraged a growing practice of catch and release in a true rainbow spirit of hope that tomorrow will bring a sporting reward through conservation of species.