When I started to gut a 3lb rainbow hundreds of bead-like eggs poured out. Is this normal?
Mark Burdass replies: This is perfectly normal for female rainbow trout, and the vast majority of stocked rainbows are still female fish. Female fish will mature naturally and produce eggs. These eggs are released into the body cavity of the fish, but are not released from the vent. For this to happen, the right environmental conditions must occur to get the male and female to start spawning behaviour. This just doesn’t happen here in the UK, so the eggs are never fertilised and laid down in the wild. So it is quite common to find ripe female, and possibly male, fish in winter that will be sexually mature. In fact by gently squeezing them you can release the milt and eggs from the fish, which is what they would do on a fish farm to produce the next generation of fish.
Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.