The golden trout is a colorful salmonid native to the High Sierras of California, transplanted into high mountain lakes all across the west. It is a western species of salmonid that resembles, in many ways, a juvenile rainbow trout. In fact, some scientists consider it a subspecies of rainbow, while others maintain that its ability to breed true in mixed-species environments means it is a distinct species. The differences are significant, however. Goldens tend to live at high elevations and in pristine waters, often above 10,000 feet. It is marked by "parr marks" - vertical black blotches that other species of salmonid lose when they transform from juvenile parr into adult trout. The butter-gold color can be very striking.