Steelhead spawningMeasured diagonally, California is 800 miles long.  Encompassing the highest and lowest elevations in the continental US, and habitat ranging from desert to temperate rain forests, California boasts numerous wild trout species, some native to California alone.

In coastal areas across the state, resident coastal rainbows share habitat with steelhead molts. Mostly in the winter (and in a few areas, during the summer) they are joined by migrating steelhead: giant, powerful trout who return to the headwaters streams to spawn. A few basins just south of the Oregon border support coastal cutthroat, overlapping where McCloud River and Great Basin redband trout. In the eastern interior, you can find a number of exotic species found in only a few Sierra Nevada streams: Golden Trout (which come in the "California" and "Little Kern River" variants) are shockingly pretty. Lahontan and Paiute cutthroat inhabit upland streams on the edge of the Great Basin.