We investigated retina preparations of young rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) with body wt 5-40 g. Rods, single and double cones were measured in side-on orientation by microspectrophotometry, identifying five spectrally distinct visual pigments (or photoreceptors containing mixtures of visual pigments). The mean wavelength of peak absorbance (lambda max) of the alpha-bands were 365 and 434 nm in single cones, 531 and 576 nm in double cones, and 521 nm in the rods. The half-band width (HBW) of the main absorption bands were broader than expected of retinal- (vitamin A1-) based visual pigments, and thus, they were indicative of a mixed chromophore pool derived from both the vitamin A1 and A2 forms. One consequence of the utilization of mixed chromophores is the broadening of the alpha-band absorption in each pigment type. And yet, we obtained exceptionally narrow HBW for the UV-type pigment, when compared with HBW values expected on the basis of the linear trend seen in visual pigments absorbing in the visible spectrum. We conclude that the UV pigment in rainbow trout has an unusually narrow HBW. Nevertheless, this species is not exceptional in this regard, for the UV-absorbing visual pigments in other vertebrate species also have narrow HBW.