Smoked rainbow trout can be enjoyed as an entree, sandwich, dip, or on crackers as an appetizer. Achieve a good smoke on rainbow trout because it is an oily fish that is high in fat. Fat absorbs the smoky flavor and does not dry out easily while being smoked. Caught in the wild, rainbow trout has tender light colored flesh and a mild nut-like flavor. Determine if the rainbow trout is caught wild or farmed when purchasing it. Farmed trout has a stronger earthy flavor different from that of fish caught in the wild.

Things You'll Need

Wash the cleaned whole rainbow trout gently in salt water to remove any unpleasant tastes. Pat the rainbow trout dry with paper towels.

Heat the smoker to approximately 150 degrees F. Use chunks of wood, approximately 3-inches square that produce a mild flavored smoke, such as alder, oak, pecan or apple.

Spread the trout open and lay on the grill. When smoking more than one make certain they are approximately 2 inches apart so the smoke can envelop all of the fish equally.

Smoke the rainbow trout for 25 to 30 minutes. This initial smoke will dry and firm up the fish for the next phase of smoking.

Raise the temperature to 225 degrees F and smoke the trout for an additional 30 minutes depending upon the size and conditions under which it is smoked.

Measure the temperature of the rainbow trout with a digital stem meat thermometer by inserting it into the interior of the fish through the underside. The fish is safe to eat when it reaches 140 degrees F. Do not allow the internal temperature to go beyond 150 degrees F because it becomes dry and the taste is affected. Remove the fish from the smoker with a pair of metal tongs and enjoy.


  • Many fish are brined before smoking, but rainbow trout is brined very rarely as the popular preference seems against it. Try it both ways to make your own judgment.